What are cataracts?
A cataract is any cloudiness or opacity of the natural lens of the eye due to natural protein build-up that prevents the light rays from passing through the lens normally. A cataract causes light to be scattered inside the eye. This results in symptoms of glare and blurred vision. Cataracts generally progress very slowly over time resulting in gradual loss of vision. There are different types of cataracts, but the most common form that typically occurs in older people is a yellowish-brown discoloration of the lens that causes a change in color perception as well as blurred vision.
Who gets cataracts?
Cataract formation is a normal part of the aging process. Virtually everyone over the age of 70 has some degree of clouding or discoloration of their lens even though some people may not become aware of a change in vision until the cataract progresses over time. Most people develop age-related cataracts at about the same rate in each eye, although sometimes one eye is more significantly affected than the other.
Not all cataracts must be surgically removed. In fact, many patients can live for years without cataracts seriously interrupting their vision. By having regular eye exams, you and your doctor can monitor the progression of cataracts and help you protect your vision.
Causes of cataracts
A complete eye exam will determine whether you have a cataract and to what extent it is impacting your vision. Your examination will include a vision test, called a refraction, to see if your vision may be improved with glasses. You may also have your vision tested with an instrument that shines light in your eye to see how much of your vision is affected by glare. An instrument called a slit lamp that functions like a microscope is also utilized to examine the lens of your eye. This allows your doctor to assess the extent of cataract formation. All the other parts of the eye will also be examined to look for any other problems that may affect your vision.
Not only is cataract treatment the most frequently performed surgery in the United States, it is also one of the most successful. More than 99% of patients who undergo cataract removal rank their vision as significantly improved. Our specially trained, experienced ophthalmic nurses and technicians who will assist your eye surgeon in giving you the best possible results. We use the highly effective phacoemulsification method for cataract removal.
If you have been diagnosed with cataracts, contact us today to schedule a cataract consultation and learn more about your surgical options. Our doctors can help you determine if it is time for cataract surgery and help you choose the right type of IOL for your vision goals and lifestyle.
What happens during a cataract procedure?
During the outpatient cataract procedure, our surgeons remove the clouded lens and implant an artificial replacement lens—either a standard monofocal lens or an advanced technology “lifestyle” lens—in its place. The procedure is performed in as little as fifteen minutes, and soon after the procedure you will be allowed to return home. Vision often improves immediately following cataract surgery, and recovery time is surprisingly short.
Learn more about multifocal and toric lenses.