Cataracts are the leading cause of poor vision in adults. However, the development of cataracts does not have to mean a loss of sight. Treatment of cataracts is over 95% successful in restoring good vision.
The lens which is responsible for focusing an image after it enters the eye, is normally crystal clear. When light enters the eye, it passes through the lens and is focused on the retina at the back of the eye. The retina then transmits the focused image to the brain.
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s lens. The cloudy lens blocks the passage of light through the eye. As a result, the image that reaches the retina and is sent to the brain is cloudy and vision is poor.
A cataract is caused by a change in the chemical composition of the lens. The most common cause for this change is the natural aging process. As we mature, the normally flexible, clear material of the lens becomes hard and cloudy. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent the development of cataracts. Everyone who lives long enough will eventually develop the problem.
Although most commonly seen in adults after the age of 40, cataracts can occur at any age. The condition may be present at birth or caused by an injury to the eye. Infections and other eye diseases, such as glaucoma and eye tumors, may cause the development of a cataract. Vision loss is usually gradual as a cataract develops.
Common cataract symptoms include:
Dimming or blurring of vision
Halos or glare around lights
Colors appear less brilliant
Feeling of “film” over the eyes
Frequent changing or cleaning of glasses
Difficulty driving or reading
A cataract usually cannot be viewed from outside the eye and must be diagnosed during an eye examination. A variety of instruments, including an ophthalmoscope and a slit lamp are used to determine the size, location and the type of cataract. These instruments illuminate and magnify the structures of the eye.
If a cataract is diagnosed, several other tests are performed. Contrast sensitivity or glare testing may be used to determine the degree of interference the cataract is causing with vision. The A-scan and IOL Master are tests which are performed to determine the length of the eye and the power of the lens implant. Potential acuity measurement (PAM) could be used to determine how much vision might be improved. Other tests, like an endothelial cell count, may also be used depending on individual circumstances.
Treatment for Cataracts
Unfortunately, a cataract cannot be cleared by medication, eye drops or a change in diet. The only way to restore clear vision is to have the cloudy cataract lens surgically removed, and a replacement lens must be used to see clearly. This artificial lens can be in the form of cataract glasses, contact lenses, or an intraocular lens implant (IOL). The most effective replacement lens used today is the IOL. It gives the patient a permanent focusing device for the eye which requires no care after surgical healing is completed.
Development of the cataract itself is not an indication that immediate cataract surgery is required. A cataract should be removed when loss of vision begins to interfere with daily activities.
Before cataract surgery, you will be given medication to help you relax, and anesthetic eye drops to numb the eye and keep them comfortable during surgery. Most patients return home a few hours after the procedure with little or no need for pain medication.
What Results Can Be Expected after Cataract Surgery?
You can expect a rapid return to good vision following cataract surgery. Today’s modern surgical techniques and technology have made cataract surgery one of the most successful surgical procedures performed in the United States, with over 95% of patients reporting a return to good vision following cataract surgery. However, some patients will need to wear glasses for reading and other activities following the procedure.
Since general anesthesia is normally not required, most patients experience a rapid recovery, returning home within hours. The eye will take several weeks to heal completely. However, most patients are able to return to their normal activities the day after surgery. Returning to an active lifestyle is one of the primary benefits of cataract surgery.
Although there is no way to prevent the development of cataracts, loss of sight from the disease is largely preventable. With modern technology, cataracts can be removed and good vision restored. Cataract surgery can be performed when a loss of vision begins interfering with daily activities.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of cataracts or other vision problems, you should visit Eye Care Specialists for a complete eye examination.
No-Shot, No-Stitch, No-Patch Cataract Surgery
Eye Care Specialists offers many services to help individuals in the Northeastern Pennsylvania area who suffer from cataracts. One of the most popular techniques used to restore vision loss due to cataracts is no-shot, no-stitch, no-patch cataract surgery. With this method, ultrasound technology is used to remove the cataract, and an intraocular lens is implanted through a smaller incision than is required in traditional cataract surgery. The cloudy lens can be removed through an incision as small as 1/8 of an inch wide!
In cases where our surgeons can use a technique that does not require sutures, the natural pressure inside the eye is used to keep the incision closed while the eye heals. Eye Care Specialists is proud to offer our cataract patients the AcrySof Acrylic Foldable Intraocular Lens along with a large selection of additional high quality IOLs. The AcrySof lens is the first silicone-free, foldable acrylic IOL available today and is more flexible than previous lenses.
Most patients experience a rapid return to good vision following no stitch/small incision cataract surgery. In many cases, patients are able to see relatively well without glasses for distance the day following surgery. Fast healing and a quick return to an active lifestyle is one of the popular appeals of no stitch/small incision cataract surgery.
YAG Laser Treatment
The YAG laser is primarily used for treating unwanted cloudy membranes within the eye. These often develop at some point after cataract surgery and can be easily treated with the laser. The YAG laser is a controlled light ray that can be precisely focused on unwanted tissues in the eye. The YAG laser can easily make a crystal clear opening in these membranes, allowing unimpeded light to pass through, thereby restoring clear vision. YAG laser recovery is relatively quick and done on an outpatient basis.
Please contact Eye Care Specialists today to schedule your cataract surgery consultation. We serve patients in Scranton, Wilkes Barre, Kingston, and throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.