Cataract and Advanced Technology Implants
A cataract is a common condition that affects approximately 22 million Americans over the age of 40. Fortunately, many advancements have been made in cataract surgery techniques making it one of the safest surgical procedures performed. At Tri-Century Eye Care, our highly trained physicians will guide you on the important and often life-changing decision to have cataract surgery.
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens of the eye. The lens of the eye is responsible for focusing incoming rays of light onto the retina to create a clear image of what we see. When the lens gets cloudy, the light is unable to pass through as easily, thereby creating a blurry or hazy image instead.
What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
In the early stages of a cataract, you may not notice any visual impairment. As it progresses, symptoms of cataracts may include:
- Blurry or hazy vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Seeing halos around lights
- Dull or faded colors
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Double vision
What Causes Cataracts?
The most common cause of cataracts is age. As we age, most people will begin to see clouding in their lens. Other causes of cataracts may include:
- Family history of cataracts
- Medical diseases such as diabetes
- Previous eye injury
- Long-term exposure to the sun's UV light
- Certain medications such as steroids
- High blood pressure
When is Cataract Surgery Needed?
To determine if cataract surgery is needed, our doctors will review with you how it affects your daily living. In the early stages, changing your glasses prescription may provide enough improvement. However, if it begins to have a noticeable impact on your lifestyle and you find you have difficulty doing daily activities such as driving or reading, it may be time to consider cataract surgery. A complete eye exam with diagnostic testing will be performed to see how cataract surgery will improve your vision.
How is Cataract Surgery Performed?
Cataract surgery typically takes less than 15 minutes to be performed. First, your eyes will be numbed using local or topical anesthesia. The surgeon will then create an incision in the cornea and begin to break up and remove the cloudy natural lens. Once the cloudy lens is removed, a new clear artificial lens is inserted. This artificial lens is called an intraocular lens, or IOL.
What is an Intraocular Lens?
An intraocular lens, or IOL, is the clear artificial lens that replaces the cloudy natural lens. Innovations in technology has provided a greater selection of IOLs to choose from including advanced technology lenses. Advanced technology lenses can decrease the dependency on glasses after surgery, giving patients more options than ever before to address specific visual needs and desires. Your cataract surgeon will review with you which IOL is best for your vision. There are 4 main types of IOLs:
- Monofocal IOL: This is the standard IOL. It improves vision at one focal point only, either for near or distance vision. Patients will often still need glasses with this type of lens. Monofocal IOLs are commonly used and are covered by medical insurance, excluding co-pays and deductibles.
- Multifocal IOL: This is an advanced technology lens that provides improved vision at both near and distance. A multifocal lens can help reduce the need for glasses after surgery.
- Accommodative IOL: This is an advanced technology lens that is designed to change the position or shape in the eye to provide a greater focusing range. An accommodative lens can help reduce the need for glasses after surgery.
- Toric IOL: This is an advanced technology lens used to correct astigmatism. Astigmatism is the abnormal curve in your cornea that results in your vision being blurry or distorted.
What is Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery?
There are two types of cataract surgery: traditional and laser-assisted. Laser-assisted is the latest advancement in cataract surgery. It utilizes a femtosecond laser which has certain benefits over traditional surgery. One of which is it creates a map of the eye to tailor the surgery to your specific eye. The surgeon will then also use the laser for a precise corneal incision and to break the lens into smaller pieces for a gentle removal. Laser-assisted cataract surgery also has the ability to correct for astigmatism.
Your surgeon will determine whether you are a candidate for laser-assisted surgery. This type of cataract surgery is available at an additional out-of-pocket cost to patients who are candidates.
How is the Recovery After Cataract Surgery?
The recovery time for cataract surgery is quick. You will be discharged the same day as your surgery. The surgeon will provide you with a list of instructions to follow including an eye drop regimen. Each patient will vary in how quickly their eyes heal but many people notice an improvement within a few days after surgery. If you need cataract surgery on a second eye, that surgery will be performed approximately 2-3 weeks after the first one.