Cataract care at our office is a combination of regular eye examinations to identify how much a cataract is affecting your vision, and coordinating your care with a recommended cataract surgeon when it is time to remove it.
Cataracts are a normal part of the aging process. The older you are, the more likely you will have a clouding of the clear lens of your eye. Cataracts prevent clear images from appearing on the eye’s retina; causing mild, moderate, even severe blurred vision. About half of Americans ages 65-74 have cataracts. Premature cataract development can occur from eye injuries, certain diseases, or medications. There can also be a family tendency towards cataracts at an earlier age. In addition to age, other risk factors that lead to cataracts include smoking, UV overexposure and diabetes.
Cataracts develop independently in each eye so one eye usually will be slightly worse than the other, or even only present in one eye. Most cataracts evolve slowly and don’t disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision making it difficult to read or drive a car – especially at night. At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery. Fortunately, cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure.
During the evaluation of your eye health we will carefully examine your lens for signs of cataract formation. If a cataract is noticed and the clouding is causing visual disruption, the optometrist will refer you to a trusted and respected surgeon for surgery, which is the only known cure for cataracts. Our Eye Care Practice will be there for you providing pre and post cataract surgery care.
Cataract surgery is the removal of the natural lens of the eye (also called “crystalline lens”) that has developed an opacification, which is referred to as a cataract. Metabolic changes of the crystalline lens fibers over the time lead to the development of the cataract and loss of transparency, causing impairment or loss of vision. During cataract surgery, a patient’s cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with a synthetic lens to restore the transparency of the lens.
Following surgical removal of the natural lens, an artificial intraocular lens implant is inserted (eye surgeons say that the lens is “implanted”). Cataract surgery is generally performed by an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) in an ambulatory (rather than inpatient) setting, in a surgical center or hospital, using local anesthesia (either topical, peribulbar, or retrobulbar), usually causing little or no discomfort to the patient. Well over 90% of operations are successful in restoring useful vision, with a low complication rate. Outpatient care, high volume, minimally invasive, small incision phacoemulsification with quick post-op recovery has become the standard of care in cataract surgery all over the world.