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Refractive Cataracts

What Are Cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding in the typically clear lens of an eye. Lenses are located inside the eye, behind the iris, and are responsible for focusing light for clear vision. Cloudiness occurs as the lens ages and sometimes as a side effect of medication. Consequently, blurred vision occurs due to lens clouding.

Even though cataracts usually affect both eyes, they can sometimes affect just one eye. It is not uncommon for one cataract to have a greater degree of cloudiness, causing poorer vision in that eye. A cataract typically develops when someone gets older. The clouding of the lens changes with age in varying degrees for every individual. Cataracts are more likely to occur if you have a family history.

Chart Illustrating a Healthy Lens vs One With a  Cataract

How Are Cataracts Detected?

An eye care professional can diagnose cataracts through a comprehensive eye exam. Additionally, there are other reasons for worsening vision. During the exam, you can evaluate visual nerve diseases like glaucoma and retinal disorders like macular degeneration. It may not be possible to restore perfect vision after cataract surgery if another disease also occurs.

How Are Cataracts Treated?

Over time, cataracts can progress where operation is necessary for better sight. Cataract surgery is needed to perform necessary or desired activities if you can no longer see clearly. Surgery is reasonable in cases of impaired driving, reading, or recreation activities with cataracts. The treatment of cataracts is not possible with medication.

Would you be suffering from cataracts? Take our FREE online cataract Self-test and see if you’re a good candidate for cataract surgery.

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is now done on an outpatient basis and typically only requires a two-three-hour stay. Usually, the surgery takes between ten to twenty minutes and is painless. During surgery, most anxiety is relieved with a mild sedative. Using ultrasound, the cataract is removed with a tiny incision in a bloodless eye. The foldable lens implant is inserted through the same small incision as before. In this case, the lens is implanted behind the pupil, where there was a cataract. As a result, the wound is secure and seals itself on its own. A seal is applied to the eye for the first day, and then a shield is to be worn at night. Resume regular activities as soon as possible. After surgery, patients are given eyedrops daily for a month to reduce infection risk and speed healing.

What Are the Risks of Cataract Surgery?

Even if you have a successful surgery, there is still a risk of vision problems. Generally, there is a 4-5% chance of complications occurring. Hence, 95% of patients report some (or significant) improvement in their vision.

How Soon Can I Get Back to Normal Activities After Cataract Surgery?

Following surgery, some eye doctors advise you not to lift heavy objects or engage in strenuous activity for three to four weeks. Most eye doctors do not restrict your movement in any way, except maybe not to swim for a few days. You will have to wait a few weeks to determine which glasses best supplement your distance vision and/or reading vision, but you can function virtually as usual.

Are you a good candidate for cataract surgery? Take our FREE cataract surgery Self-Test and one of our eye doctors will contact you!

Lens Options

Toric IOL

Since the early 1980s, nearly all cataract surgery in the United States has used lens implants. In the past, patients needed thick glasses or contact lenses to see after cataract surgery. Now they can see without either. Intraocular lenses, or IOLs, are what these surgically implanted lenses are called. Optical technology offers more advantages than ever before to cataract surgery patients looking to correct their vision.

What IOL is Best for Astigmatism?

Astigmatism has been a problem for many cataract patients for much of their adult lives, requiring them to wear glasses or contact lenses to drive or read. Astigmatism can be corrected with toric lens implants. Toric IOLs are inserted into the patient’s eye during routine cataract surgery just like monofocal implants. Patients with significant astigmatism often have improved vision post-cataract surgery with or without glasses.

What is an Intraocular Lens?

Implantable intraocular lenses are synthetic lenses that help restore the clarity of your vision after cataract surgery. Unlike natural lenses, intraocular lenses do not degrade or wear out over time. 

Are you considering cataract surgery? Schedule an appointment with one of our cataract specialists today!

Cataract Doctor

Samantha Schneider-Johnson, MD

Samantha Schneider-Johnson, DO