A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. When the lens becomes cloudy, light cannot pass clearly through the lens and the vision becomes blurry. It is common for cataracts to develop as people get older.
Mild cataracts do not need surgery. Sometimes, changing the prescription in your eyeglasses will help you see clearly.
If you have significant symptoms from your cataracts, surgery should be considered. Some common symptoms are difficulty reading, glare at night, difficulty driving, and not seeing well enough to do the things you like to do.
In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed from the eye though a small surgical incision. Under an operating microscope, precise instruments and a type of ultrasound called phacoemulsification are used to remove the cataract. Removal of the cataract is permanent. Surgery is performed on one eye at a time.
The lens is then replaced with a permanent intraocular lens (IOL) implant. Your surgeon will measure your eye to determine the proper intraocular lens implant for your eye. The lens implant is made of acrylic and generally lasts a lifetime.
Dr. Shah will help you select the intraocular lens (IOL) implant that is best for you based on the measurements of your eye. The standard intraocular lens implant has one focusing target. It is an excellent lens and is covered by insurance. There are several targeting options:
- Distance vision (driving) - Aim for clear vision in the distance without glasses. You will still need glasses to read and see things up close.
- Near vision (reading) - Aim for clear vision up close without glasses. You will still need glasses to drive and see things far away.
- Blended vision - This is for people who prefer not to wear glasses for daily activities. One eye is targeted for distance vision and the other eye is targeted for up close vision. This can feel uncomfortable to some people because of the difference between the two eyes.
Astigmatism means that the front of the eye is not round. If you have significant astigmatism, you will need eyeglasses for both distance and near after surgery.
There are other kinds of lens implants that are not covered by insurance. These implants may increase the chances of seeing clearly without glasses, but there are some trade-offs.
For all of these options, you may need eyeglasses to see clearly, even if you did not need them before surgery. The eyeglasses may be for both distance and near.
Cataract surgery is an outpatient surgery under local anesthesia. The anesthesiologist gives medicine through the IV to help you relax and keep you comfortable.
The surgery center is located on the corner of Rinaldi Avenue and Indian Hills Road. You will be asked to skip breakfast on the day of surgery. Someone will need to drive you home after surgery. Your eye will be patched closed for one day after surgery.
Most patients find that cataract surgery significantly helps their vision. After surgery, you will need to use eyedrops for one month to help the eye heal. You cannot do any strenuous exercise for one week after surgery, but it is okay to go walking. Also, it will be okay to shower, read, and watch television. After the eye is healed, your eye’s prescription will be checked to see if glasses are needed or to update your glasses.
Sometimes, the lens capsule behind the intraocular lens implant becomes cloudy. This can happen several months or years after the original cataract surgery. If the cloudy capsule blurs the vision, a laser can be used in the office to remove the cloudiness from the lens capsule and restore the vision.