A cataract is a clouding and loss of transparency of the clear lens in the eye. Most cataracts are related to aging. As one ages, chemical changes occur in the clear lens, making it less transparent. Many people are unaware they even have cataracts because the changes in their vision are so gradual. When the lens gets cloudy enough to obstruct vision cataract surgery is necessary to restore vision. Glasses nor contact lenses will sharpen vision if a cataract is present. Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure in the United States with millions of surgeries performed each year.
Causes of Cataracts:
The most common type of cataract is related to the aging of the eye. Causes of a cataract include:
- Family history
- Medical problems, such as diabetes
- Injury to the eye
- Medications, especially steroids
- Long-term, unprotected exposure to sunlight
- Previous eye surgery
- Unknown factors
Over 1.4 million people undergo cataract surgery each year in the United States, and more than 95% of those surgeries are performed without complications.
Surgery is the only treatment for cataracts. There are no medications, dietary supplements, or exercises that have been shown to prevent or cure cataracts. Cataract surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. The entire process typically lasts only 2 hours, while the procedure itself is usually completed in 10-15 minutes. Prior to surgery, your eye will be treated with anesthetic numbing drops which will ultimately make the procedure painless.
Simone Eye Center uses modern day cataract surgery technology known as phacoemulsification, also known as small incision micro-surgery. The cataract removal and surgical process is actually done using the smallest possible incision, and removal of the lens material is accomplished using an ultrasonic probe. Next, a soft, flexible synthetic intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted into the lens capsule of the eye. The incision made is self-healing and no stitches are required. We always make sure you get the highest quality cataract treatment.
Understanding Intraocular Lenses
The surgeons at Simone Eye Center perform both traditional monofocal lens implantation as well as premium lens implantation, following phacoemulsification (small incision) cataract surgery. Monofocal lenses are covered by medical insurance, including Medicare and will correct one zone of vision. Patients generally will choose to correct distance vision and still need reading glasses to see up close. Premium lenses are another option now available to our patients. These lenses correct multiple zones of vision, including near, far, and in between. To learn if premium lens implants are the right choice for you, we encourage you to take our online premium lens self-evaluation.
What To Expect After Cataract Surgery
Recovery from cataract surgery is generally very quick. Most patients experience better vision within the first 24 hours of the procedure; however, many notice their vision is dramatically improved immediately after surgery. Itching and mild discomfort are normal after cataract surgery. Some fluid discharge is also common. Your eye may be sensitive to light and touch. You will be given safety glasses to wear to bed and will be instructed to wear sunglasses while outside to help with light sensitivity. If you experience discomfort, your Simone Eye Center surgeon will determine the proper treatment. Any discomfort typically subsides within 1-2 days.
You will be given appointment dates and times for your post-operative visits so your surgeon can follow your healing and progress. In most cases, healing will be complete within eight weeks. Each person heals differently so it is important to discuss the cataract surgery recovery with your eye doctor.