Your eye has a clear lens through which light passes, allowing you to see. When the lens loses its transparency, the cloudy tissue that develops is known as a cataract.
Cataracts cause progressive, painless loss of vision. The lens clouds naturally as we age, so people over the age of 65 usually see a gradual reduction of vision. No one is exactly sure what causes cataracts. In younger people they can result from an injury, certain medications, or illnesses such as diabetes. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light may also play a role in the formation of cataracts. Studies have also shown that people who smoke cigarettes have a higher risk of developing cataracts than non-smokers
Although cataracts usually develop without apparent pain, some indications that a cataract may be forming are:
- Blurred or hazy vision
- Double vision
- Poor vision in bright light
- Seeing halos around lights
- Yellowish tinged vision
- Night vision difficulty
Vision loss from cataracts can often be improved with prescription glasses and contact lenses. For people who are significantly affected by cataracts, replacement surgery may be the preferred method of treatment.
Cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL).
We perform a minimally invasive, small-incision, no-stitch cataract surgery called phacoemulsification ("phaco") surgery. First, the eye is numbed with anesthesia. Then a tiny incision is made in the eye to make room for a small ultrasonic probe. This probe breaks up, or emulsifies, the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The pieces are then suctioned out through the probe.
After the cloudy lens has been removed, a new artificial lens, or IOL, is implanted in the eye. With the recent advance of foldable IOLs , artificial lenses can be implanted through the same small incision from the phaco procedure.
Some patients who undergo cataract surgery continue to experience refractive errors afterwards such as astigmatism, nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) or presbyopia. These errors are typically not due to a problem with the new implanted lens, but are instead caused by irregularities in the cornea. Our doctors are pleased to offer post-cataract surgery patients the option of LASIK so they no longer need to wear distance glasses. LASIK reshapes the cornea with a laser so the eye focuses light more sharply, and will not affect the results of patients' previous cataract surgery.