WHAT IS A CATARACT?
A cataract occurs when the clear, transparent lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. The lens is located in the eye just behind the iris (the colored part) and the pupil. A cataract is not a tumor or growth over the eye. The development of cataracts is a normal part of the aging process but can result from other factors.
WHAT CAUSES CATARACTS?
The most common type of cataract is related to aging of the eye. Other causes include:
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Symptoms of cataracts range from barely noticeable loss of vision to virtual blindness. The first symptoms may be difficulty in performing routine tasks. Common symptoms of cataracts include:
HOW FAST DO CATARACTS DEVLOP?
How quickly the cataract develops varies among individuals and may even be different between the two eyes. Most age-related cataracts progress gradually over a period of years. Other cataracts, especially in younger patients and diabetics, progress rapidly over a few months, and vision deteriorates quickly. It is not possible to predict how fast cataracts will develop in any given patient.
HOW IS A CATARACT DETECTED?
Your doctor can detect a cataract by performing a thorough eye exam. A careful evaluation will rule out any other conditions that may be causing blurred vision or other eye conditions.
HOW IS A CATARACT TREATED?
Surgery is the only effective way to remove a cataract. Even though symptoms may seem mild and tolerable, there is no reason to delay surgery when your vision impairs daily activities such as working, reading, driving, watching TV, cooking, taking medications, and hobbies.
WHAT IS “NO STITCH” CATARACT SURGERY?
During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a new intraocular lens implant. With modern surgical techniques this process is performed on an outpatient basis and takes only a few hours from start to finish. Dr. Lehmann and Dr. Young perform this delicate surgery using a microscope, precision instruments and modern technology. No shots are given but rather anesthetic eye drops are used along with a small amount of IV sedation to relieve patient anxiety. You will return home without an eye patch and return to normal activities. It is recommended you do not drive the day of your surgery. You will use eye drops to guard against infection and help the eye heal.
Patients feel no irritation from sutures because no stitches are used, and patients do not have to wear a patch. Patients are always comfortable because no needles are used, and the surgery and recovery time is faster and safer.
WHAT CHOICES OF INTRAOCULAR LENSES ARE AVAILABLE?
During cataract surgery, your surgeon will replace your natural lens with a permanent intraocular lens or IOL. Today there are multiple types of IOLs, each delivering a different type of performance based on how the lens is designed. A standard monofocal lens is designed to improve distance at one vision (usually far). This lens is the standard choice for many patients based on its reliability and stability. One drawback of this lens is that after surgery, you may still need to wear glasses for near vision. The second lens choice is called a multifocal lens. This lens uses multiple visual zones that are built into the lens itself to provide vision at varying distances, similar to having bifocals or trifocals inside the eye. Patients who have this lens implanted are free of glasses 80% of the time based on clinical studies. A third lens choice is the astigmatic control lens. This lens is designed to correct astigmatism with clear distance vision without the need for glasses. However, you will still need glasses for reading.
Dr. Robert Lehmann and Dr. Timothy Young will discuss your options at the time of your cataract evaluation and help you make the decision that is right for your lifestyle. They have performed cataract surgeries for thousands of patients with the most modern state-of-the-art techniques and would be honored to serve you. Please call us with any questions or concerns.