Your eye has a clear lens through which light passes, allowing you to see. When the lens loses its transparency, the cloudy tissue that develops is known as a cataract. Cataracts cause progressive, painless loss of vision.
If visual impairment interferes with your ability to read, work, or do the things you enjoy then it is time to consider cataract surgery. Surgery is the only proven means of effectively treating cataracts. Cataract surgery is relatively painless and is one of the most frequently performed procedures. It has a very high success rate and more than 90 percent of cataract surgery patients regain useful vision.
Although cataracts usually develop without apparent pain, some indications that a cataract may be forming are as follows:
Blurred or hazy vision
Poor vision in bright light
Seeing halos around lights
Night vision difficulty
Cataract tissue is a natural result of aging which, like most medical problems, affect some people more severely than others. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light may also play a role in the formation of cataracts. Studies have shown that people who smoke cigarettes have a higher risk of developing cataracts than non-smokers.
In younger people, they can result from an injury, certain medications, or illnesses such as diabetes.
Our talented and experienced surgeons perform the most common and proven method of cataract surgery. The surgery begins with the surgeon making a small incision at the edge of the cornea. Then, in a process called phacoemulsification, an ultrasonic probe with a hollow tip and a vacuum is used to break up and remove the cloudy lens from the bag or capsule. This cloudy lens is then replaced with a small plastic intraocular lens (IOL) implant. This IOL corrects vision for a single focal point (monofocal), often resulting in a reduced dependency on glasses or contact lenses.
In addition to the monofocal IOL which is the most widely used in cataract surgery, we also offer the latest refractive IOLs, such as the multifocal IOL and toric IOL. The multifocal IOLs (Tecnis and ReSTOR) are both designed to correct vision for distance and near. The toric IOL (AcrySof Toric) corrects for astigmatism. These refractive IOLs are not currently covered by insurance and therefore involve a charge to the patient; however, for many it may be well worth the extra cost.
Occasionally, months and sometimes years after the cataract surgery, a hazy membrane can form on the capsule that holds the IOL in position. This is commonly called a secondary cataract and can cause issues with blurriness or glare in your vision. If this occurs, a fast, painless laser treatment called a YAG capsulotomy is performed to remove the secondary cataract and restore the clarity of your vision.