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CATARACTS - DETECTION
What is a cataract?
Simply put, a cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye. The lens is located just behind the iris, the colored part of your eye, and works like the lens of a camera. It picks up light and focuses it onto the retina, the transmitter located at the back of your eye that sends the images to your brain. If the lens is cloudy, the light rays are inhibited from reaching the retina and this results in hazy or blurred vision.
Normal Vision Cataract Vision
Normal Vision Cataract Vision
Normal Vision Cataract Vision
Normal Eye Cataract Eye
The human lens, made mostly of protein and water, can become clouded--so clouded it keeps light and images from reaching the retina. Eye injury, certain diseases, or even some medications can cause the clouding. But, in over 90% of cases, clouding is caused by the aging process.
A cataract can be the reason sharp images become blurred, or seeing things at night is more difficult. It may also be why the eyeglasses or contact lenses that used to help you read, or do other simple tasks, no longer seem to help.
What a cataract is NOT?
A cataract is not a "film" over the eye, and neither diet nor lasers will make it go away. The best way to treat a cataract is to remove the old, clouded lens and replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL).
What are the symptoms?
Many people over 60 have some cataract and the vast majority can be treated successfully. A thorough eye examination by your eye doctor can detect the presence and extent of a cataract. Below is a list of the most common symptoms.
  • A blurring of your vision
  • Glare, or light sensitivity
  • Frequent eyeglass prescription changes
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Needing brighter light to read
  • Poor vision at night
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
What causes a cataract?
Cataracts can form at any age. The most common type of cataracts is age-related cataract. These develop as people get older. In younger people cataracts can result from conditions such as diabetes, certain medications and other longstanding eye problems. Cataracts can also be present at birth. These are called congenital cataracts.
Although researchers are learning more about cataracts, no one knows for sure what causes them. There may be several causes including smoking, excessive exposure to sunlight and poor diet. Sometimes cataracts are caused by other health problems such as diabetes.
Normal Vision Cataract Vision
Normal, clear lense Lense clouded by a cataract
Early Detection
A compact fiber-optic probe developed for the space program has has proven itself valuable as the first non-invasive early detection device for cataracts. The new device is based on a laser light technique called dynamic light scattering (DLS) and measures small protein changes in the lens of the eye. If subtle protein changes can be detected before a cataract develops, people may be able to reduce their cataract risk by making simple lifestyle changes, such as decreasing sun exposure, quitting smoking, stopping certain medications and controlling diabetes.
Routine Eye Examination
Adults over the age of 40 should schedule routine eye examinations on an annual basis to determine whether cataracts or other eye disorders are present. A thorough examination usually includes:
  • A visual acuity test to measure clarity at various distances.
  • Pupil dilation to examine the lens and retina.
  • Tonometry, a standard procedure to measure fluid pressure inside the eye.
CATARACTS - TREATMENT
When should cataract surgery be considered?
If your cataract is detected early you may be able to improve your vision for a while using new glasses, strong bifocals, magnification, appropriate lighting or other visual aids. You should consider cataract surgery when your cataracts have progressed enough to seriously impair your vision and affect your daily life. Many people consider poor vision an inevitable fact of aging, but cataract surgery is a simple, relatively painless procedure to regain vision.
Technological Advances
Recent advances in intraocular lens implants has redefined cataract surgery. We now have the ability to fully customize your vision through the use of the most modern intraocular lenses. We can now virtually eliminate your need for glasses at both distance and reading and everything in between. The notion of Custom Cataract Surgery came about from the recognition that each patient has different visual needs. These needs vary based on your lifestyle. Cataract surgery is no longer a "One Size Fits All" procedure. By listening to your specific visual needs, your doctor can now customize your surgery to help you achieve freedom from your eyeglasses.
Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most successful procedures performed today. Great advances have been made in cataract surgery. Millions of people undergo this vision-improving procedure every year and experience excellent results.
Cataract Incision
The Procedure
Modern microsurgical techniques for removing the natural lens have evolved and improved dramatically over the past 20 years. In the early days, cataract surgery was performed only when a person could no longer see. The cloudy lens was removed in one piece through a large incision that required many stitches. Patients stayed in the hospital for days and after surgery had to wear thick, distorting cataract glasses or deal with cumbersome contact lenses to see well enough to function. Today, it's a simple operation for patients. A tiny incision is made in the eye. Through this incision, the surgeon inserts an instrument about the size of a pen tip. The surgeon may select to use either an AquaLase® device, which uses gentle pulses of liquid to wash away your cloudy lens, or an ultrasonic instrument that breaks up and gently removes your cloudy lens.
Intraocular Lenses
Once the clouded lens has been removed, the next step is to replace it with an artificial lens that will do the work of your own lens. This artificial lens is referred to as an intraocular lens or IOL. Read more about IOLs here.
When is cataract surgery needed?
In the past, eye specialists often waited until the cataract became “ripe” and your vision was very poor before suggesting you had the cataract removed. Nowadays, with modern surgery the operation is usually done as soon as your eyesight interferes with your daily life. This includes having any difficulties with looking after yourself or others, cooking, driving, getting out and about, being able to read, work or do the things you enjoy.
What are the benefits of cataract surgery?
When your cataract has been removed it may seem like a miracle. All the things you couldn't see clearly are bright, clear, and vivid again. In fact, many people will tell you they haven't seen life so clearly in years. Once you see how good the world looks, you'll be so glad -- like millions of others just like you -- that a cataract is one thing you can live without. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks. You and your doctor should consider the potential risks and benefits to determine if cataract surgery is right for you.
Important Considerations
Older Couple
Medicare Considerations
Medicare allows patients who need cataract surgery to select a custom intraocular lens to reduce their dependency on glasses or contacts. The Acrysof Toric™ lense that we offer will definatly qualify!
Driving Considerations
If you are a driver you must reach the visual standard required by the Department of Motor Vehicles. If a cataract impairs your vision in any way, it may be necessary to have it removed in order to keep your license.
Post-Op Care
Not long ago, cataract surgery required a hospital stay and was usually postponed as long as possible. Today, the procedure is performed on an out-patient basis and takes only a few minutes. Patients are free to return home to rest in comfort and avoid the inconvenience and expense of a hospital stay. In most cases, daily activities such as driving and reading can be resumed almost immediately.
After the Surgery
After the surgery, you'll be given a short time to rest. Then, the very same day, you can go home. Within the next 24 hours, your doctor will probably want to see you for an evaluation. Drops will be prescribed to guard against infection and help your eyes heal. For a few days, you may need to wear a clear shield, especially at night, to prevent you from rubbing your eyes.
Astigmatism Control
If you suffer from astigmatism in addition to cataracts a simple procedure can be performed during your cataract surgery to help correct the astigmatism. We offers two types of astigmatism control, Toric Cataract Surgery and Advanced Astigmatism Control.
  • Ideal for patients with moderate to severe degrees of astigmatism
  • Use of the Acrysof Toric™ intraocular lens
  • Advanced corneal topography and axial length measurements
  • Includes “touch ups” if necessary to further reduce your astigmatism
  • This will dramatically reduce your need for eyeglasses for distance vision
  • You will still require eyeglasses for reading