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. You will be awake throughout and experience little or no discomfort. After surgery, you will receive complete instructions from the nursing staff. 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 are intraocular replacement lenses (IOLs)?

IOLs are tiny, clear lenses that replace the clouded lens and restore your focus after cataract surgery. In most cases, an IOL 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.

The various types of IOLs are designed to address different vision issues. Basic monofocal IOLs allow the eye to focus clearly at one distance (usually far) after cataract surgery. Glasses will still be needed for clear vision at other distances. Many people are very happy with the monofocal IOL, while others prefer more advanced technology options, such as broad-range (multifocal) and astigmatism-correcting (toric) IOLs. These offer a more functional range of vision as well as reduce the need for glasses. Your doctor will help you select the best lens option for your needs.

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.