Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world. They form when a person’s natural lens becomes cloudy and the light is no longer able to pass through the murky lens to the back of the eye. The image perceived becomes blurry and distorted. Cataracts usually develop in individuals 60 years of age or older and are considered a normal part of the aging process. However, in rare cases cataracts may develop in younger patients due to eye injury, certain medications and other causes. Cataract surgery is the most performed surgery in the USA. During cataract surgery, the patient’s cloudy natural lens is removed and is replaced with an artificial implant knows as an Intraocular Lens Implant or IOL.
Cataract Surgery: The Procedure
The removal of the eye’s cataract-diseased lens is one of the safest procedures in the field of refractive surgery. The procedure is performed on an out-patient basis in an ambulatory surgery center under local anesthesia and lasts about 15 minutes per eye.
During cataract surgery, a small, self-sealing incision is created on the surface of the eye. Next, a high-energy ultrasonic probe is used to soften and break up the cataract into smaller pieces, which are then suctioned out of the eye. This step is called phacoemulsification. A foldable IOL is then carefully placed in the eye through the same incision and allowed to unfold inside the eye. The incision is sealed without the need for sutures.
Dr. Ozerov is able to offer a variety of Advanced Technology IOLs to patients who are looking to reduce their dependence on corrective eyewear. In addition, she also performs laser cataract surgery with the Alcon LenSx Femtosecond laser platform, eliminating the use of blades during surgery altogether.
Cataract Surgery Recovery and Results
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means patients are free to go home shortly after surgery. After the surgery the patient is asked to start a regimen of post-op eye drops to ensure proper healing. A protective shield is usually worn for the first 24 hours. Some cataract surgery patients may experience mild discomfort and itching immediately after surgery, which should subside fairly quickly.
The healing process after cataract surgery may take up to eight weeks. Depending on the type of IOL chosen, patients may not require any spectacle correction after the surgery.
Cataract Surgery Candidacy
Individuals who are diagnosed with cataracts are excellent candidates for the procedure. However, it is important to note that cataract surgery is usually performed after the condition has progressed significantly and is affecting vision. This is because some cataracts are safely observed without treatment. Individuals who suffer from unrelated eye diseases may not qualify for cataract surgery.
Major symptoms of cataracts include:
- Halos surrounding viewed objects, especially when driving
- Unusual or extreme glare when viewing objects, room interiors or outside scenes;
- Decrease of color perception and color tone variations;
- Lack of visual precision and depth perception;
- Decrease in perception of light and dark contrasts;
- Development of photo-sensitivity (sensitivity to light by the eye)
For more information on cataract surgery and to find out if you are a candidate, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Ozerov.