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. Also, previous eye injuries can 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. Unfortunately, this effect goes away as the disease progresses. Early on, 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 remaining option.
Cataract surgery is a very common procedure, and complications (if any) are rare and treatable. The surgery itself is highly successful in improving the vision of patients about 95% of the time. Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure usually taking less than 30 minutes to complete.
During the surgery, the doctor removes the cloudy natural lens from the eye while the patient is under a topical anesthesia. Next, the doctor inserts an intraocular lens (IOL), which remains permanently in place of the removed natural lens. The IOL compensates for the magnification the old lens provided. Modern IOLs are designed for various functions and made out of different materials; your doctor will know which is most appropriate for your individual case. After the operation the doctor will apply a shield for the eye and provide you with eye drops to use as directed.
Recovery from Cataract Surgery
The patient may return home the day of the procedure. With proper rest and avoidance of any 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.
What is a Cataract?
Contrary to popular belief, a cataract is not a type of “film” that forms over the surface of the eye. In reality, a cataract is a change in the clarity of the lens inside your eye, a gradual clouding that can make your vision less sharp over time.
How Cataracts Affect Vision
|Light enters the eye through the cornea
Cornea: The clear protective surface of the eye., passes through the natural crystalline lens
Crystalline lens: The transparent disc behind the pupil that helps bring light rays to a focus on the retina. and is accurately focused onto the retina
Retina: The transmitter located at the back of your eye that sends the images to your brain., creating a crisp, clear image.
| As the eye ages, the lens becomes cloudier, allowing less light to pass through.
The light that does make it to the retina is diffused or scattered, leaving vision defocused and blurry.
Cataracts generally develop slowly and painlessly. In fact, you may not even realize that your vision is changing. Still, cataracts can progress until you eventually experience a complete loss of vision, and neither diet nor laser treatment will make a cataract go away. The only truly effective treatment for cataracts is to remove the clouded lens altogether.
Fortunately, cataract surgery is one of the safest, most effective surgical procedures – it’s also one of the most successful. The idea of surgery may seem a little scary at first, but once you understand the process, and the life-changing, sight-restoring benefits it can offer, you’ll likely wish you’d had the procedure even sooner!
Getting Ready for Cataract Surgery
Once you’ve decided to have cataract surgery, your doctor will work with you to help choose the intraocular lens, or IOL Intraocular lens (IOL): An artificial lens that is implanted in the eye during cataract surgery to replace the eye’s clouded crystalline lens., that will be placed in your eye during the procedure.
There are two basic types of IOLs, each designed to correct vision at a specific visual range. Mono-focal (Mono-focal IOL: An intraocular lens that provides patients with only one focal point. Typically, these lenses only correct distance vision.) lenses only correct vision at one portion of your visual range (typically vision at a distance), while multi-focal (Multi-focal IOL: An intraocular lens that provides patients with multiple focal points, correcting vision at a range of distances.) lenses are designed to correct a full range of vision – near, far and everywhere in-between.
Your doctor will work with you to decide which IOL is best suited for your unique visual needs. For instance, you may be a candidate for theAcrySof® IQ ReSTOR® IOL, an advanced type of multi-focal IOL that can offer you the chance for complete freedom from glasses. Ask your doctor if the AcrySof® IQ ReSTOR® IOL is right for you.
What would it be like to say goodbye to both cataracts and astigmatism at the same time?
Imagine being able to
- See as a distance without relying on eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Finally enjoy quality distance vision without glasses or contact lenses
|Cataracts and astigmatism cloud and blur vision, requiring corrective eye wear or surgery.||The traditional replacement lens implanted when a cataract is removed clears vision, but cannot correct the astigmatism.
Corrective eye wear or additional surgery are needed to reduce blurring and distortion.
| AcrySof® Toric lens:
You may leave your glasses and contacts behind and recapture QUALITY distance vision in only one step.
You are reading this website with the only two eyes you will ever have. For that reason, vision correction decisions are among the most important you will ever make. Now, revolutionary new technology makes it possible for the surgeon to perform a single outpatient procedure in which the clouded cataract lens is exchanged for an artificial lens designed to correct astigmatism as well. You may be able to break free from eyeglasses or contact lenses for distance vision in just one step, without the need for additional surgical procedures.
What is Crystalens?
Crystalens is an accommodating intraocular lens that, unlike a standard IOL, can treat both a person’s cataracts and presbyopia—loss of near and intermediate vision. You probably noticed in your forties that you started to lose some of your up-close vision and had to start wearing reading glasses. Crystalens not only treats your cataracts (a clouding or hardening of your lens), but can also reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses. It does so by recreating accommodation similar to your eye’s natural lens. The unique Crystalens can reduce or eliminate glasses for most activities, including: reading a book, working on the computer, and driving a car.
Crystalens was modeled after the human eye. Like the natural lens, it uses the eye muscle to flex and accommodate in order to focus on objects in the environment at all distances. Crystalens dynamically adjusts to your visual needs.
Crystalens is designed to allow the optic, or the central circular part of the lens that you see through, to move back and forth as you constantly change focus on images around you. Crystalens flexes as you focus your vision.
- The first and only FDA-approved accommodating intraocular lens
- The only FDA-approved intraocular lens that uses the natural focusing ability of the eye
- The only FDA-approved presbyopia correcting IOL for cataract patients that provides a single focal point throughout a continuous range of vision
Few patients with Crystalens have experienced problems with glare, halos and night vision. Crystalens focuses only one image to the back of the eye, unlike a multi-focal lens that projects multiple images, requiring your brain to “adjust” to the differences.
The effectiveness of Crystalens was proven in clinical trials:
- Significantly more patients implanted with a Crystalens (88.4%) could see better at all distances than patients implanted with a standard IOL (35.9%).
- Most patients have continued to report excellent vision 7 years after implantation with Crystalens. More than 100,000 Crystalens implants have been implanted worldwide, and that number is growing daily.
Crystalens accommodates like the natural lens. After implantation of Crystalens, most patients will see brighter and clearer from distance, intermediate to near like they did when they were younger.
Crystalens was the first presbyopia correcting IOL introduced into the United States market and is currently the only FDA-approved accommodating IOL. Crystalens addresses the limitations of standard mono-focal IOLs and multi-focal IOLs by providing the following advantages to patients:
- Provides a Broad Range of Vision: Crystalens moves and changes shape using the eye’s natural focusing mechanism, instead of remaining fixed and stationary within the eye. This movement, or accommodation, allows the eye to focus on objects across a broad range of distances to reduce or eliminate dependence on glasses. In particular, this accommodation provides significant advantages in addressing intermediate vision.
- Maintains Clarity of Vision: Unlike multi-focal lenses, Crystalens directs all available light received by the eye to a single focal point, comparable to that of a healthy natural lens.
- Patient Adjustment Not Required: Crystalens produces a single image consistent with normal vision, meaning patients do not need to neuroadapt to viewing multiple images. Patients also do not need to tolerate or adjust to high levels of halos and glare often associated with multi-focal IOLs.
The Crystalens® procedure
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the world. Crystalens is implanted during standard outpatient cataract surgery.
In the United States, on average over 8,000 cataract procedures are performed a day. The cataract procedure is quick, simple and allows for relatively fast healing. This safe and painless procedure typically starts with eye-numbing drops and a micro-seal being made at the edge of the cornea. The natural lens is gently washed away and Crystalens is implanted. Crystalens can be implanted quickly and without sensation. Most patients return for a follow-up visit with the physician the day after surgery.
The recovery period is usually short. Most patients are able to pursue normal activities almost immediately after surgery. Patients usually have a follow-up visit scheduled with the surgeon to evaluate the patient’s recovery. (Discuss with your doctor beforehand what to expect before, during, and after the procedure in terms of eye drops and office visits.)
If you are like most patients who have Crystalens, you can expect to see sharper images than you have seen in years.
Potential Complications: Implantation of Crystalens is a surgical procedure. All surgical procedures entail some risk. The risks of implantation with the Crystalens are generally the same potential risks that exist for implanting all intraocular lenses. Because the Crystalens has a smaller optic compared to the standard IOL, glare and other visual disturbances may occur under certain lighting conditions, including at night when the pupil widely dilates. Only your surgeon can determine if Crystalens is right for you and explain the applicable risk of complications.
Your doctor will perform a thorough examination and fully inform you of any increased risk of complications. Because the Crystalens only absorbs a portion of ultraviolet light, you should wear sunglasses with UV400 protection when out in daylight.