A cataract is a slow clouding of the clear lens in your eye. Cataracts interfere with light passing through your eye to your retina and the result is your retina sending an image to your brain that is cloudy, which impairs your vision. In its early stages, you should not have any pain and cataracts usually develop at a slow pace. However, eventually the cataract will impair your vision and Northwest Eye Physicians will be able to discuss what your options for treatment are.
What causes cataracts?
There are several different causes of cataracts, including:
- Accident or injury
- Birth defect
- Environmental factors
- Toxic chemicals
- Exposure to ultraviolet light
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
The symptoms of cataracts can vary from patient to patient, but most cataract patients will experience:
- Blurred or cloudy vision
- Constant prescription changes
- Double vision in one eye
- Night vision difficulty
- Poor vision in bright light
- Seeing halos around lights
- Yellowish tinged vision
These are the most common symptoms that we see in our patients. If you are experiencing these symptoms, call Northwest Eye Physicians to schedule an appointment.
What is cataract surgery?
Cataracts can’t be treated with medication or lasers. Surgery is still the only treatment option and one of the most common and reliable operations. Each year, more than a million people have their vision improved through cataract surgery. During surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a clear, man-made intraocular lens (IOL).
In order to treat cataracts, your doctor uses a microscope and small instruments to make an incision and remove the old lens. Depending on the condition of the lens, it will either be removed in one piece or broken apart with sound waves (ultrasound). The pieces will then be removed. The natural membrane (capsule) that held your lens is left in place.
Once your old lens has been removed, your doctor inserts the new lens (IOL) through the incision. The IOL is then positioned in the capsule that held your old lens. With the new lens in place, your doctor is ready to close the incision. In most cases, the incision is self-sealing (no-stitch). That means it will stay closed on its own without stitches. Sometimes, however, a stitch may be needed.
Newer lens implants, such as the ReSTOR lens, allow patients to see both near and far following surgery. These so-called presbyopic or multifocal lens implants on exciting new level of vision for our offer patients. We are happy to offer this new technology.
Our patients usually experience a pretty quick recovery and most patients have better vision within 24 hours. We typically ask our patients to use a couple different eye medications several times a day within the first few weeks after the surgery. Patients should avoid strenuous activity within the first week after having the surgery and should avoid rubbing their eyes for several weeks.
New Surgical Options
- LenSx femtosecond laser – Corrects astigmatism via laser incisions and allows for more precise placement of the lens implant
- Toric lens implant – Astigmatism-correcting intraocular lens for higher levels of astigmatism, but no near vision correction