If you are over 55 and notice a decrease in your vision, you may be suffering from cataracts. Many patients are surprised to know that cataracts are quite common – in fact, more than 20.5 million Americans have cataracts.
What is a Cataract?
Cataracts are caused by the natural aging process that occurs inside the eye. It’s a gradual clouding of the eye’s clear, natural lens that will, over time, make your vision less sharp. View Video
Types of Cataracts
Saying someone “has a cataract” isn’t really precise enough, as there are many different types of cataracts. Those include:
Nuclear cataracts: Caused by the natural aging process, nuclear cataracts are the most common type. They affect the center of your lens and may initially cause you to become more nearsighted. Over the long term, this will affect your ability to distinguish colors.
Cortical cataracts: These cataracts begin on the edge of your eyes and first show up as white wedges on the periphery of your vision. Over time these will spread to the center of your lens and can cause problems with glare.
Posterior subcapsular cataracts: Commonly caused by diabetes or the long-term ingestion of steroids, these cataracts start at the back of your lens. These can make it difficult to read or to see in low light situations.
All of these cataracts can develop into serious problems. That’s why it’s so crucial to see our Kingston eye doctors as soon as you recognize symptoms. We’ll find a surgery that is appropriate for your situation.
Cataracts develop slowly and painlessly over time. In fact, in early stages, symptoms may be so mild that you may not even realize your vision is changing. However, as cataracts become denser, you will experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Blurry or cloudy vision
Eyeglass prescription changes often, or no longer works
Colors appear dull and washed out
Difficulty reading in low light
Poor night vision
Halos or glare around lights
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have cataracts. If untreated, cataracts eventually begin to interfere with normal, everyday activities. The time to have cataract surgery is when your quality of life has been impacted by your poor vision. In the hands of our experienced surgeons, recovery time is rapid and results are impressive. With today’s safer, more precise technology, there’s never been a better time to have cataract surgery!
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 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 that 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.
The development of the cataract itself is not an indication that immediate cataract surgery is required. A cataract should be removed when the 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 serving Wilkes-Barre, Kingston, Hazleton, Berwick and more 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 the distance the day following surgery. Fast healing and a quick return to an active lifestyle are 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.
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Dedication, Experience, and Training You Can Trust!
Eye Care Specialists, providing our patients with a tradition of eye care excellence for more than 60 years, is an Advanced Technology Cataract Practice. We offer the most up-to-date advancements that allow you to enhance your vision to its highest potential. We are pleased to offer amazing options such as Lifestyle Lenses and Laser Cataract Surgery that now allow patients to achieve clear vision with less dependency on glasses and contacts. Even if you have worn glasses your whole life, you may now have an opportunity to see clearly at a distance and near with Lifestyle Lenses.
We’re one of the FIRST centers in the U.S. and the FIRST center in Northeastern Pennsylvania to offer patients Laser Cataract Surgery. The LenSx® laser at our Kingston Surgery Center is the FIRST FDA-approved femtosecond laser in the U.S. for cataract removal. Our cataract specialists are ranked in the top 2% of ophthalmologists in the nation. Click to learn more about Laser Cataract Surgery or Lifestyle Lenses.