A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. It is often compared to a window that has been frosted. Common symptoms of cataracts include: painless blurring of vision, glare or halos, light sensitivity, poor night vision, double vision in one eye, needing brighter lights to read, or yellowing of colors. The amount of cloudiness can vary. If the cloudiness is not near the center of the lens, you may not be aware that is cataract is present.
After the cataract (the natural lens of the eye) is removed, an implant (artificial lens or IOL) is put in its place.
- Conventional, Single-Vision Lens, which is a lens implant that provides improved vision after cataract surgery. Most people receiving a conventional lens implant require glasses either for near vision, distance vision or both after surgery.
- Multifocal Lenses are designed for people who want better vision for near, far, and intermediate without glasses.
- AcrySof® Toric Intraocular Lens (IOL) is an advanced technology that now makes it possible to correct the cataracts clouding your vision AND the corneal astigmatism distorting your vision. The technology behind the AcrySof® Toric IOL offers precise astigmatic correction that reduces or eliminates corneal astigmatism and delivers significantly improved distance-vision without glasses or contacts.
What Causes a Cataract?
The most common type of cataract is related to aging of the eye, usually after the age of sixty. Other causes of cataracts include: a family history, medical problems such as diabetes, previous injury to the eye, certain medications especially steroids, long-term unprotected exposure to sunlight, cigarette smoking, and previous eye surgery.
How is a Cataract Detected?
A thorough eye examination can detect the presence of a cataract, as well as any other conditions that may be causing blurred vision.
How Fast Does a Cataract Develop?
Cataracts development varies among individuals and eyes. Most age-related cataracts progress gradually over a period of years. However, younger people and people with diabetes, may develop cataracts that progress more rapidly. It is not possible to predict exactly how fast cataracts will develop.
How is a Cataract Treated?
The only treatment for cataracts is surgery. There are no medications, dietary supplements, or exercises that have been shown to cure cataracts. However, sunglasses that screen out ultraviolet (UV) light rays or regular eyeglasses with a clear, anti-UV coating may offer some protection. However, if cataracts are mild surgery may not be necessary. In fact, a small glasses prescription change may be all that is required.
When Should Surgery Be Done?
Surgery should be considered when cataracts cause enough loss of vision to interfere with your daily activities. It is no longer true that cataracts need to be “ripe” before they can be removed, or that they need to be removed just because they are present. Cataract surgery can be performed when your visual needs require it. Are you having difficulty performing your job, driving safely, or reading or watching TV comfortably? Can you see well enough to perform your activities of daily life, such as cooking, shopping, or taking medications without difficulty? Based on your symptoms, you and Dr. Kuczynski can decide when surgery is appropriate.
What Can I Expect From Cataract Surgery?
Over 1.4 million people have cataract surgery each year in the United States. In fact it is the most common surgery performed in the United States. Most people are pleasantly surprised with both the ease and results of the procedure. During cataract surgery, which is usually performed under local or topical anesthesia as an outpatient procedure, the cloudy lens is removed from the eye. In most cases, the focusing power of the natural lens is restored by replacing it with a permanent, man-made, intraocular lens implant or IOL. You will use eye drops for several weeks. You will also have regular follow-ups to ensure proper healing. Cataract surgery is one of the most successful procedures performed today. Improved vision is the result in over 97% of cases, unless there is a problem with the cornea, retina, optic nerve or other ocular structures. People see images more clearly and colors more vividly. It is important to understand that complications can occur during or after the surgery, some severe enough to limit vision. If you experience even the slightest problem after cataract surgery you should contact Dr. Kuczynski immediately.