What are cataracts?
Cataracts are the most common cause of impaired vision. They cloud the normally clear lens of the eye, causing images to blur. Many living with cataracts compare the experience to looking at the world through a dirty camera lens. No one is sure what causes cataracts, but risk factors may include aging, family history, eye injuries, certain diseases, and some medications.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
Cataract symptoms include:
- Hazy or blurred vision
- Steady deterioration of vision leading to more-frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription
- Halos and glare appearing around lights at night, making it difficult to drive at night
- Colors appearing less vivid than usual depending on a cataract’s density
- Vision loss ranging from slight to complete
None of these symptoms are “proof” of a cataract. A thorough examination by our staff of ophthalmologists and optometrists can determine whether cataracts are present.
How are cataracts treated?
There are no medicines, vitamins, diets or lifestyle changes known to either prevent or correct cataracts. Cataracts are correctable only through surgery. Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States and is known to be highly effective.
What happens during cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is considered by many a modern-day miracle. It is fast, simple, minimally invasive and typically creates dramatic improvement in vision. The procedure is routinely performed on an outpatient basis.
At Grossnickle Eye Center, you will receive mild sedation and topical anesthetic drops. Cataract surgery is highly effective and involves the surgeon making a tiny incision through which the cataract will be removed and an intraocular replacement lens (IOL) implanted. Due to advanced technology, patients may now elect to have femtosecond laser cataract surgery, which is designed to add an even greater level of precision. With either option, the entire procedure takes less than 15 minutes. After surgery, you will briefly visit the recovery room to receive complete instructions from the nursing staff before you are allowed to return home to rest. You will be examined the following day, and may then resume normal activity, generally without restriction. Follow-up appointments with your optometrist for further examination and new glasses may be scheduled as appropriate.
What kind of vision do you want after cataract surgery? Choose your implantable lens.
Implantable lenses, also called intraocular lenses, are tiny, clear lenses that replace the clouded lens and restore your focus after cataract surgery. In most cases, an implantable lens will last the rest of your life. Because technology is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, you now have the option to choose the type of lens implant you wish to receive during your cataract surgery based on the kind of vision you need.
There are a wide variety of implantable lens technologies available, which allows an experienced eye surgeon to customize your results to meet your vision needs. This lens exchange makes it possible to greatly improve visual acuity as measured by an eye chart in good lighting conditions. Patients are often astonished by the stunning return of clear, colorful vision, especially because they often did not realize how much they were living without due to cataracts slow progression.
Choosing the best implantable lens for you depends on the kind of vision you want after surgery:
- If you want clearer vision and do not mind wearing glasses after cataract surgery, ask about implantable standard lenses. Standard lenses, also called traditional monofocal lenses, provide clear vision at one distance (near or far). While it does not eliminate the need for glasses, it is designed to make your vision with glasses much clearer than it was prior to cataract surgery.
- If you want clearer vision and more freedom from glasses after cataract surgery*, ask about implantable lifestyle lenses. Implantable lifestyle lenses are a broad category of lenses that are designed to provide clear near, intermediate, and distance vision with less dependence on glasses. Some implantable lifestyle lenses, such as the PanOptix® and Vivity™ lens, are considered multifocal lenses and correct presbyopia. Others are considered toric lenses and are used to correct astigmatism.
Don’t worry. Your eye doctor will analyze your eye health and talk with you about your vision needs to help you select the implantable lens that may restore your best possible vision after cataract surgery.
*Regardless of the option you choose, no one can guarantee that you will be totally free of glasses after cataract surgery.
When should I request a cataract consultation?
When cataracts begin to affect your daily activities, the Grossnickle Eye Center team will evaluate your vision and determine which IOL is the best choice for your lifestyle. Just call to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations.