A cataract is an opacity that clouds the natural lens inside the eye. Normally, the path of light to the retina (where the light sensors are) is as clear as possible. When proteins that make up the lens clump together, the resulting cataract blocks some of the light, making vision blurry or hazy.
Cataracts typically occur more frequently in the aging population, however there are many other factors such as family history, diabetes, long term UV exposure, or certain medications like steroids that can cause cataracts. Previous eye injuries may be an attributing factor.
Cataract symptoms may include:
Lights seem too bright or have a “halo” effect.
Double vision in one eye.
Decreased night vision – sensitivity to glare from headlights.
Dull or fading colors.
Some people actually experience an improvement in their near vision during the beginning stages of a cataract. In the early stages, a cataract may be treated with increased glasses or contact prescription. Once the cataract begins to interfere with daily tasks such as reading and driving, surgery is the only option.
Cataract surgery is a very common procedure, and complications (if any) are rare and treatable. The vision of a cataract patient is improved highly with cataract surgery. An outpatient procedure, cataract surgery usually takes less than 30 minutes.
During the surgery, the doctor removes the cloudy natural lens from the eye while the patient is under a topical anesthesia. The doctor then inserts an intraocular lens (IOL), which remains permanently in place of the removed natural lens. The IOL compensates for the magnification of the old lens. Modern IOLs are designed for various functions and made of different materials; the doctor will know which is most appropriate for each individual case. After the operation, a shield for the eye will be applied and eye drops given to use as directed.
Recovering from Cataract Surgery
The patient can return home the day of the procedure. With proper rest and avoiding strenuous activities such as heavy lifting, recovery is usually a matter of days, with only minor discomfort. Several follow up appointments will be required to ensure the eye is healing properly and initial results are sustained.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of cataract problems, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a consultation.