What is Cataracts?
Cataracts develop gradually over time as natural proteins within the eye structure and clump together, causing obstruction to vision. It is a natural part of aging and nearly everyone gets cataracts, typically after age 60. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects your ability to see clearly.
How does it work?
Patients with Cataracts have varying degrees of vision impairment. The lens within your eye, lies behind the iris and the pupil, and helps to properly focus light onto the retina so enable you to see. Over time your lens may lose its ability to focus light properly and must be replaced.
The Cataract procedure involves completely removing your existing lens and replacing it with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL). There are a few choices on the type of IOL you choose for the procedure.
Anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye, and eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids throughout the procedure to prevent blinking.
Step 1: Once your eye has been prepped, a single, small opening is made in the cornea.
Step 2: The cataractous lens is removed.
Step 3: The new IOL is gently implanted in the eye.
Options offered by IQ Laser Vision:
• Standard Intraocular Lens – Acrysof Toric
• Accommodating Intraocular Lens - CrystaLens
• Multi-focal Intraocular Lens – special flexible lenses that can be controlled similar to the natural lens, using your eye muscles
Step 4: Once implanted, a protective patch is placed over the treated eye.
Step 5: You enjoy your new vision!
What are the benefits?
Cataract procedures are very safe and very successful. It is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States. There are constant development and advancements in the field of Cataracts, which means leading-edge technology to increase results and decrease risks.
The Cataract procedures are done for a number of reasons. Here are a few of the most common reasons:
• Decreased vision clarity – difficulty reading small print (i.e. medication instructions, newspaper); reduced clarity and blurred edges
• Cloudy vision – vision may appear foggy or cloudy
• Driving difficulties – difficulty seeing while driving, especially at NIGHT; light may seem extremely bright
Who is a candidate?
The Cataracts procedure, although the most frequently performed surgeries in the US, is not something to take lightly. The symptoms associated with cataracts are also shared with a number of other vision disorders. In order to be sure that cataracts is indeed the reason for your decreased vision, and ultimately determine your candidacy, a thorough series of exams needs to be done. By performing these exams we can determine the exact source of your decreased vision and present the best options for you.
There are several factors that would indicate a need for the Cataract procedure, but rarely will a cataract need to be removed as an emergency. Early detection is important and you should understand your vision, and your options, before making a decision.
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What can you expect?
As previously mentioned, the Cataracts procedure is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States. Modern advancements in technology has led to the development of advanced intraocular lenses. Even patients who may be dealing with other vision problems, see an improvement in their remaining vision after the Cataracts procedure. Activities such as reading, cooking, driving, computer use, sewing, etc. become easier and more manageable.
The recovery period is typically very short which allows patients to return to their daily-routine and enjoy their improved vision very quickly.
What are the risks?
Although the most frequently performed surgery in the United States, a Cataract procedure still poses some risk. IQ Laser Vision will provide you with complete instructions in order to minimize your risk, but some risks may include:
• Retinal detachment
• Posterior Capsular Opacification
All risks are discussed and addressed before, during and after the procedure. IQ Laser Vision is dedicated to answering any and all questions you may have to ensure complete conformability and proper expectations with the procedure.
FAQs about Cataracts
Q: Is the Cataract procedure painful?
A: No. You should not feel any discomfort, but it would be minimal if any. Your eyes will be numbed using anesthetic eye drops.
Q: I have cataracts in both eyes. Will both be treated at the same time?
A: The Cataract procedure is typically done one eye at a time. The procedure is typically performed on the second eye 2-3 weeks after.
Q: How long will I be at the surgical center?
A: You will spend only a few hours at the surgery center, and will go home the very same day.
Q: How long before I can see after the procedure?
A: Each patient is unique and recovery time varies accordingly. Typically, a majority of patients see well enough to perform daily-activities the day after the procedure, and fully recover in about 2 weeks. Strenuous and physical activities should be avoided for 2 weeks after the procedure unless otherwise indicated by the doctor.
Q: After surgery, will I be able to drive at night?
A: Yes. Night-vision improvement is one of the goals and benefits of the procedure.
Q: Can my cataract come back?
A: No. Once a cataract has been treated it cannot return, because your existing lens is removed. However, over time, some patients may experience “Cataract-like symptoms,” such as cloudy vision. This condition, which is a risk associated with all intraocular lens procedures, is known as posterior capsular opacification (PCO), sometimes referred to as “secondary cataract.” This occurs when the capsule which holds the lens becomes cloudy. It is easily treated with a simple procedure called YAG posterior capsulotomy, in which a cold laser is used to create a small opening in the capsule to allow light to clearly enter the eye. The procedure is quick, completely painless, and most patients see an immediate improvement in vision clarity.
Q: Can my IOL be replaced if it doesn't work?
A: Although highly unlikely, an IOL can be removed/replaced with if needed.