What is a Cataract?

As people age, the lens of the eye becomes “cloudy” and we call this a cataract. If left untreated, a cataract leads to functional blindness. Fortunately there is cataract removal, the most-performed surgery in the U.S. Cataract removal is one of the safest procedures, with a 98% success rate. Typically, it is done as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. In the hands of an experienced surgeon, the process should take about 15 minutes to complete. Many patients have improved vision immediately after surgery is completed, and are able to see clearly the day following the procedure.

What is a Cataract?

As people age, the lens of the eye becomes “cloudy” and we call this a cataract. If left untreated, a cataract leads to functional blindness. Fortunately there is cataract removal, the most-performed surgery in the U.S. Cataract removal is one of the safest procedures, with a 98% success rate. Typically, it is done as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. In the hands of an experienced surgeon, the process should take about 15 minutes to complete. Many patients have improved vision immediately after surgery is completed, and are able to see clearly the day following the procedure.

Signs of Cataracts

Any of these symptoms may indicate that you have cataracts, but only a trained eye doctor can diagnose cataracts:

  • Blurry vision
  • Glare and reduced vision in bright light
  • Halos around lights when driving at night
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Frequent eyeglass prescription changes
  • Poor vision at night
  • Need for brighter light when reading

How are Cataracts Removed?

Cataract Surgery or “Phacoemulsification”

Every human eye is a bit different in terms of size, depth, and other key features. Utilizing the latest instruments and testing, the surgeon takes precise measurements of your eye prior to cataract surgery and plans the procedure to produce the best possible outcome.

Cataract surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure, with local anesthesia used to numb the area. After making a tiny incision, the surgeon uses an ultrasonic instrument to emulsify the lens material (this is called Phacoemulsification or Phaco). The surgeon aspirates the material out of the eye through the tiny incision, which requires no stitches.

When the cataract is removed, your natural lens is removed as well. At this time, the surgeon will implant an Intraocular Lens or IOL to replace the lens. Before surgery, the surgeon will help you decide which type of IOL is best for you.

What Lens Implants is Right for Me?

Monofocal IOLs are a traditional form of correction; they will allow you to see clearly up close or at a distance, but not both. This is covered by most insurance plans. The majority of patients who choose monofocal IOLs correct their vision for distance and need readers post operatively for computer work and reading. Another strategy is called “monovision” where one IOL is set for distance vision, and the other eye is set for near vision. The brain adapts and synthesizes the information from both eyes to provide vision at intermediate distances. Often this reduces the need for reading glasses. Monovision is not an option for all patients. Please discuss with your surgeon if this option is recommended.

Toric Astigmatism IOLs are a premium form of correction; these lenses take advantage of new technology to provide crystal clear vision for those diagnosed with astigmatism. Patients who choose Toric IOLs report greater satisfaction, as a high percentage of them do not need to use glasses except for near vision activities. Toric IOLs provides cataract treatment and astigmatism correction in a single procedure. Patients report crisp, clear distance vision with reduced dependence on glasses.

Multifocal IOLs are a premium form of correction; these lenses take advantage of new technology to correct the full range of vision, from up close to far away. Patients who choose multifocal IOLs report greater satisfaction, as a high percentage of them decrease their dependency on glasses for distance and near.

Multifocal Toric IOLs are a premium form of correction; these lenses take advantage of new technology to correct the full range of vision, from up close to far away along with correcting astigmatism. Multifocal Toric IOLs provides cataract treatment and astigmatism correction in a single procedure. Patients who choose multifocal IOLs report greater satisfaction, as a high percentage of them decrease their dependency on glasses for distance and near.

Possible Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with cataract treatment. Each eye in each situation is unique, and you should discuss the various options available to you to determine which of these options would be ideal for your situation. Any and all surgical procedures should be taken seriously. Even after the doctor has answered any questions you might have, you should take some time and think it over before committing to surgery.

If you’re interested in having this kind of surgery and want to discuss your options with one of our highly-qualified ophthalmologists, get in touch with Chang Eye Group.

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