Over fifty percent of people over the age of 60, and quite a few younger than that, suffer from cataracts. In fact, cataracts are so common it is said that everyone will develop a cataract if they live long enough.
A cataract is a progressive clouding of the eye’s natural lens that interferes with light passing through to the retina. Sufferers usually describe the condition as being similar to looking through a waterfall, or a piece of wax paper, with gradual blurring or dimming of vision.
Reading may become more difficult and driving a car can actually become dangerous. Cataract sufferers may also be troubled by a bothersome glare, halos around lights, or even double vision. As the cataract becomes worse, frequent changes in eye-glass prescriptions may become necessary.
Currently there is no medical treatment to reverse or prevent the development of cataracts. Once they form, there is only one way to achieve clear vision again, and that is to physically remove the cataract from the eye.
In your parent’s or grandparent’s day, cataract surgery was considered risky, required a lengthy hospital stay and was usually postponed for as long as possible. Today, cataract surgery is performed on an out-patient basis and takes only a few minutes. Patients can then go home and rest in comfort and avoid the inconvenience and expense of staying in a hospital.
Your cataract will be removed with an advanced technique called phacoemulsification, or small-incision cataract surgery. Using only a topical anesthetic, a “stair-stepped” incision of about 1/8″ is made in the sclera (white part of the eye), or in the clear cornea (just above the area where the cornea meets the sclera). The cataract is then broken into microscopic particles using high energy sound waves and gently suctioned from the eye. Then, to compensate for the removal of the eye’s natural lens, an intra-ocular lens (IOL) is implanted into the eye. After using this special “stair-stepped” incision, the eye remains tightly sealed by the natural outward pressure within your eye.
Benefits of Self-Sealing and Topical Anesthesia
Topical anesthesia and self-sealing incisions have taken cataract surgery to the next level. Many patients are able to see with clear vision much sooner after the surgery. In most cases it is now possible to return to daily activities such as driving and reading almost immediately. With “eye drop” anesthesia, there is rarely the need to inject the eye which delays vision restoration and could cause temporary swelling and skin discoloration.
Successful Cataract Surgery
Everyone heals somewhat differently, but many cataract patients report improvement in their vision almost immediately after the procedure. Most patients return to their normal work and lifestyle routines within a day or two.
According to a survey conducted by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, more than 98% of cataract patients had their vision successfully improved after surgery. Many patients experienced vision that is actually better than before they developed cataracts. Once removed, cataracts will not grow back. However, some patients may experience clouding of a thin tissue called the capsule or “bag” that holds the intra-ocular lens (IOL.) In most cases a laser is used to painlessly open the clouded capsule and restore clear vision.
Financing for your cataract surgery is available
Snead Eye Group works with Care Credit, a finance company that can help patients pay any high insurance deductible and help pay for Tecnis Multifocal or Toric Lens for cataract surgery patients. When patients apply and are approved we offer a two year, no interest rate, payment plan. Learn more about Care Credit financing.
The Choice is Yours
It can take months or years for a cataract to develop. How do you know when it is time to have a cataract removed? The answer is quite simple. The time to have your cataract removed is when you believe your quality of life would be better if you could see better. Only you can decide when it is time to open your eyes to a bright, clear world.
Because cataract surgery can be done with just topical anesthesia, patients typically feel nothing during or after the procedure. Previously, a needle was used to inject the eye anesthetic. However, with all the latest advancements, including the smaller incision, we can now use eye drops to numb the eye, which means no stick of a needle before surgery. The major advantage of not having to wear a patch, besides patient comfort, is that patients can immediately see the improvement in their vision.
New Technology – Cataract Lens Implants
For many years most patients who underwent cataract surgery still needed to wear glasses to read. New technology now affords the patient several choices of lens implants that reduce or eliminate the need for glasses after surgery.
Here is a brief description of the new lenses and how they perform:
Tecnis Multifocal Lens – Offers the best functional vision in all lighting environments. Only lens FDA approved to improve reaction time while driving.
Tecnis IOL – this lens has been approved by the FDA for improved functional vision. Patient has the ability to see well even in low-light situations like driving at night, and improved vision for distance viewing. With the Tecnis lens you may still need to wear glasses for close-up tasks or reading.
Toric – (Astigmatic Correction Lens) Toric IOL provides quality distance vision greatly reducing the dependence on glasses and contact lenses.
Femtosecond Laser – The use of the Femtosecond Laser in assisting with phacoemulsification for cataract surgery represents a technological advancement resulting in more predictable and refined results. Cataract surgery, already noted as being safe, effective and astoundingly quick, can now be done with the precision of laser technology for even better clinical results.
The decision on what lens implant is best for you should be determined by you and your surgeon. This decision is based on your expectations of your vision after surgery, your lifestyle and the overall health of your eye. At the Snead Eye Group, you are guaranteed to experience your best vision possible.
If you would like information on the new cataract lens implants or have questions regarding eye care. Please feel free to call our office – (239) 936-8686.
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