What Is A Cataract
A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are related to aging. Cataracts are very common in older people. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. The lens is a clear part of the eye that helps to focus light, or an image on the retina. The lens must be clear for a clear image to be formed on the retina. If the lens Is cloudy from a cataract the image formed will be blurry.
The eye focuses images through a lens inside the eye much like a camera uses a lens to focus. When we are born, the lens is clear and flexible, allowing clear vision with a full-range of focus from near to far. As we age, the lens becomes cloudy and inflexible, causing our vision to blur and our dependence on glasses to refocus from far to near to increases. A cloudy lens is a cataract. Because of the clouded lens or cataract images may become blurry with age. Cataracts may make it progressively more difficult to read, drive, watch TV, perform normal daily activities and blur vision in general. Cataract formation is a normal unavoidable part of the aging process.
Treatment for Cataracts?
A cataract is not a film over the eye, and neither diet nor lasers will make it go away. The best way to treat a cataract is to remove the old, clouded lens and replace it with a new clear one. This is accomplished via outpatient cataract surgery. When cataracts cause enough loss of sight to interfere with the patient’s work or lifestyle, it is probably time to remove them.
Surgery is the only effective way to remove the cloudy lens. Some indications for cataract surgery are decreased vision affecting daily activities, harmful conditions to the eye because of the cataract, or an inability to safely examine or treat the rest of the eye due to poor visibility beyond the cataract.
There is no known prevention for cataracts, but permanent loss of sight is usually preventable because modern cataract treatment is highly effective.
Millions of Americans undergo cataract surgery each year. A tiny incision is made in the eye. Through this incision, the surgeon inserts a tiny ultrasonic probe about the size of a pin head. The probe breaks the cloudy lens into pieces which are vaccumed out of the eye during a process called phacoemulsification.
Once the capsule has been emptied of the clouded lens, the next step is to replace it by implanting an artificial lens. This lens is permanent as you do not have to remove it daily, as you would a contact lens.
Because of the small incision and the phacoemulsification technique, we do not need to routinely use invasive anesthesia minimizing risk to your eye. Anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye for cataract surgery, minimizing discomfort and allowing quicker, safer recovery. If you would like, you can receive sedation for the surgery as well.
What type of Lens Implant is Used?
Thanks to the latest advances in technology and materials, many artificial lens types (also called IOLs or intraocular lenses) are available and have significant clinical advantages over previous lens models.
The doctors at Houston Ophthalmology Associates prefer the acrylic material in the ACRYSOF Single-Piece IOL and the TECNIS ZCB00 IOL. These are lenses crafted entirely from acrylic – a soft, flexible material that was developed specifically for use as an IOL. The material behaves well in the eye, contributing to excellent long-term results. Also, both these lenses are designed to conform to the natural shape of the lens capsule which helps it stay stable and centered in the eye.
For most cataract patients, life without reading glasses or bifocals is something they either experienced before presbyopia or they just dreamed about for most of their lives. But today, the AcrySof® ReSTOR® IOL , the TECNIS Multifocal IOL and other similar CUSTOM LENSES are turning those dreams into reality with revolutionary lens technology, which is designed to allow patients to see clearly at all distances without bifocals or reading glasses.
In the FDA clinical study, 80% of patients receiving the AcrySof® ReSTOR® IOL reported that they never wear glasses for any activities. With the AcrySof® ReSTOR® IOL they can read a book, work on the computer, and drive a car – day or night – and play golf or tennis with an increased freedom from glasses. In fact, patients were so pleased with their vision, nearly 94% of patients said they would have the AcrySof® ReSTOR® IOL implanted again, if given the choice. Similarly, in the patients that received the TECNIS Multifocal IOL, 90% report never having to wear reading glasses for any activity.
The Cataract Surgery Experience
Cataract surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, and usually requires just a few hours of your time from start to finish. On arrival at the surgery center, your eye will be dilated and will be treated with anesthetic prior to the procedure so you’ll feel little, if any, discomfort. First, a tiny incision will be made in the eye allowing your surgeon to use a small instrument (about the size of a pen tip) to break up or wash away the cloudy cataract. Once the cataract is removed, the len implant will be inserted through the same tiny incision and set into its permanent position.
If you are not a candidate for the Restor IOL, the surgeon will discuss surgical IOL options with you. To learn more about what lenses might be considered for your particular requirements, please visit our Custom Implants section.
After the procedure you’ll rest for a short while before you go home. Your doctor will typically examine your eye within 24 hours. You’ll need to use prescription eye drops to guard against infection and help your eye heal. For a few days, you may need to wear a protective shield, especially at night to prevent you from rubbing your eye. Everyone heals somewhat differently, but most patients see well enough to return to most of their routine activities the day after surgery.
To schedule an appointment, please call our office at 281-420-1318 or schedule online.