Cataracts / Cornea / External Diseases

Cataracts result when the human lens becomes opaque which leads to reduced vision and problems with halos around lights. We specialize in the latest technology in small incision, sutureless Cataract Surgery to restore sight. We offer both the Mono-focal and Premium high-tech, Intra Ocular Lenses.

Each year, cataracts affect millions of people, including more than half of all Americans aged 60 and older. A cataract is a painless clouding of the eye’s natural lens that is caused by a buildup of protein. A cataract can form in one or both eyes. If left untreated, cataracts worsen over time and interfere with everyday activities such as reading or driving. Night vision is usually most affected. When cataracts are in their early stages, people are helped by brighter lighting. As cataracts get worse, however, most people require surgery.

We manage corneal dystrophies, corneal trauma such as corneal abrasions, and foreign bodies, corneal astigmatism (such as keratoconus), corneal ulcers, infections, etc…

Risk Factors For Cataracts

In addition to aging, other factors, including the following, can increase the risk of developing cataracts:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Family history of cataracts
  • High blood pressure
  • Previous eye injury or surgery
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications

In rare instances, infants are born with cataracts, which may be the result of an infection, such as rubella, contracted by the mother during pregnancy. They may also occur in combination with some other birth defect. Occasionally, infants develop cataracts shortly after birth.

Diagnosis Of Cataracts

Several tests, including the following, are performed to diagnose cataracts:

  • Retinal examination under pupil dilation
  • Visual acuity test
  • Slit-lamp examination
  • Tonometry to test intraocular pressure (IOP)

In combination, such tests help determine whether a patient has cataracts, or whether her or his vision problems have some other cause. They also assist in evaluating the degree of visual impairment, and whether surgery should be performed.

Symptoms Of Cataracts

People with cataracts often do not realize they have them until vision is affected. Cataract symptoms include the following:

  • Blurred, hazy or double vision in one eye
  • Decreased color perception
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Poor night vision
  • Perception of halos around lights
  • Frequent changes in corrective-lens prescriptions

Yellow-tinged vision is also an indicator of cataracts.

Cataract Surgery

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye; cataract surgery is performed to improve vision by replacing the clouded lens with an artificial one. Cataracts affect millions of people in the United States each year. Most cataracts are the result of aging, though some form as a result of genetic factors, disease or injury. Cataract surgery is common, and considered safe and effective.

Reasons For Cataract Surgery

Cataracts can cause blurry vision, and increase the glare from lights. In their early stages, cataracts usually are not troublesome but, as they thicken, surgery to remove them may be required. Typically, surgery is needed because cataracts are interfering with everyday activities, or the treatment of another eye problem.

Candidates For Cataract Surgery

Cataracts caused by aging develop gradually, and patients may not notice the early vision changes they cause. It is only when their cataracts start interfering with vision that patients may become aware of them. An ophthalmologic examination will detect cataracts, and rule out other causes for vision issues, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. Patients who become aware of visual difficulties related to cataracts usually experience, especially at night, clouded, blurred or dim vision.

Benefits Of Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery’s benefits are many, greatly enhancing the quality of life. They include the following:

  • Improved quality of vision (sharper images, brighter colors)
  • Less difficulty with routine tasks (particularly night driving)
  • Decreased dependency on eyeglasses
  • Greater independence, regardless of age or disability
  • Greater safety

Research indicates that the improved vision provided by cataract surgery reduces the risk of falls, making exercise, sports and hobbies safer. This, combined with the improved ability to read, recognize faces, and perform everyday activities with greater ease, results in improved physical health, increased sociability and longer life expectancy.

The Cataract Surgery Procedure

After the pupil is dilated, and the area in and around the eye is numbed with anesthesia, a tiny incision is made to insert an ultrasonic probe. The probe emulsifies (breaks up) the cloudy lens into tiny pieces that are then suctioned out of the eye. Once the cloudy lens has been removed, an artificial lens is implanted.

The new lens, known as an intraocular lens (IOL), is often inserted through the original incision. Some varieties of IOLs serve multiple purposes, such as blocking ultraviolet light or working as bifocals. Depending on the type of IOL used, sutures may or may not be needed.

Surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis in a doctor’s office, takes only 20 to 30 minutes, and is relatively painless. A very high percentage of patients demonstrates improved vision after the procedure.

Risks Of Cataract Surgery

Although cataract surgery is a common procedure and considered quite safe, any surgery poses risks. In the case of cataract surgery, there is a slightly increased risk of retinal detachment, a painless but dangerous condition. Other risks of cataract surgery include bleeding and infection. The risk of complications after cataract surgery is greater if the patient has another eye disease or serious medical condition. Danger signs of complications after cataract surgery include increased pain in or redness of the eye, light flashes or floaters, diminished vision, nausea, vomiting or intense coughing.

Recovery From Cataract Surgery

Immediately after surgery, an eye patch is worn; some doctors advise wearing a protective shield, even when sleeping, for several days. Vision may be blurry at first, but improves within a few days. Some itching and discomfort are also present for a few days, but it is important that a patient not rub or exert pressure on the treated eye. Heavy lifting should be avoided. Eye drops to prevent inflammation and infection, and control eye pressure are prescribed.

Even though full healing can take up to 2 months, because cataract surgery is performed on one eye at a time, daily activities can be resumed in a few days. Most patients need to wear eyeglasses, for at least some tasks, after surgery. If the other eye also has a cataract, which is usually the case, the second surgery is scheduled a month or two after the first.

Prevention Of Cataracts

Although cataracts cannot be prevented, their development can sometimes be delayed by the following:

  • Wearing wide-brimmed hats to block sunlight
  • Wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet rays
  • Not smoking; not drinking excessively
  • Eating a diet high in antioxidants

Left untreated, cataracts cause serious visual impairment. In most cases, however, they can be effectively treated with surgery once they become intrusive in everyday life.

For more information about our Procedures and Diagnostic Services, please call us 610-525-5100 or contact us today.