What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's internal focusing lens. For most people it gradually develops throughout life and may cause visual difficulty.
Why do Cataracts develop?
Cataracts develop because of a natural aging process in the lens itself. Ultraviolet (UV) exposure plays a big role, and some cataracts are caused in younger people by trauma, genetic conditions or vitamin deficiencies.
What are the symptoms of Cataracts?
Early on, cataract symptoms can be very mild. Most people notice a distracting glare from oncoming headlights when they drive at night. Also, it may require more and more light to comfortably read, even while wearing glasses. Some people notice that television captions become increasingly difficult to read.
Will new glasses help people with Cataracts see better?
Sometimes they do. During a complete eye examination, by Dr. Shah and Dr. Frohn, vision and the total health of your eyes is evaluated. We also screen for other disorders like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetes. This allows us to determine whether a change in glasses would provide a significant improvement in vision. When cataracts become severe, even new glasses will not help because the eye is seeing through a cloudy internal lens that cannot be corrected with glasses.
Do Cataracts happen to both eyes at the same time?
This varies, but cataracts do usually progress at about the same rate in both eyes. Many people are more bothered by cataract symptoms in one eye first, however. During an examination, we can determine whether any other conditions such as macular degeneration are also contributing to difficulty with vision.
When should I have my Cataract removed and why?
Dr. Shah and Dr. Frohn no longer recommend surgery when a cataract is "ripe". Rather, the decision for surgery is based on when visual difficulties begin to interfere with normal activities of daily living, like driving, reading, work, or hobbies.
Is surgery performed in a hospital or as an outpatient?
Cataract surgery is performed as an outpatient in an Ambulatory Surgery Center or in the hospital. The nursing staff at the center specializes in only eye surgery. They are, therefore, highly skilled in helping patients comfortably go through the steps of surgery.
How long does the surgery take?
Surgery itself takes about 10 minutes in the operating room. Most people are in the Center for about 2 hours, including pre- and postoperative time.
Is it painful?
Most people say that there is no pain during or after cataract surgery. Occasionally, patients experience a scratchy sensation (like an eyelash in the eye) and mild soreness for about 24 hours after surgery. If necessary, they take Aspirin, Advil (ibuprofen), or Tylenol (acetaminophen).
How is the Cataract removed?
The cataract is removed in a 10 minute procedure where a small opening (less than 1/8 inch) is made painlessly in the front of the eye (the cornea) to allow the surgeon to dissolve the lens of the eye and remove it in tiny pieces. An artificial lens implant is folded into a small package, then inserted into the eye and unfolded in the proper position. In this position, the new lens will remain permanently. It will never need maintenance or replacement. The new lens can be selected to minimize the need for glasses following surgery.
After the surgery, will my Cataract come back?
After cataract surgery it is impossible for a cataract to come back because the lens of the eye, which was the cataract, has been removed. It is possible, however, for a cloudy film to grow on the lens capsule membrane that is located behind the lens implant. Treatment of this film, sometimes called a "secondary cataract," is done with a laser in a simple in-office procedure that only takes a couple of minutes. The eye is not even patched and patients may drive themselves home.
Will I need glasses after Cataract surgery?
With newer technologies available like focusing implants and astigmatism correction, many people after surgery are able to drive a car and read newsprint, both without glasses. Some of these options may not be covered by Medicare or private insurance. Dr. Shah and Dr. Frohn will be happy to answer questions about these technologies during a visit to the office.
What restrictions will I have after Cataract Surgery?
For the first 24 hours after surgery, an eye patch is placed on the healing eye and the effects of anesthesia will be wearing off. During this time we recommend restful activity. Eating, watching television, reading, and walking around the house are allowed. After the eye patch is removed, patients can begin administering their postoperative eye drops. Aside from not rubbing the operative eye, there are minimal restrictions after surgery.
What are the risks of Cataract surgery?
There are risks with every kind of surgery, and cataract surgery is no exception. The risk of severe complications, such as infection or retinal detachment, is about 1 in 1000. Other less severe complications can include the need for additional surgery or prolonged recovery time with delayed visual improvement. This is not a complete list of risks that occur with surgery, and individual patients may have other risks based on their co-existing medical or eye conditions.
Contact our office at (562) 866 - 2020 for your comprehensive eye exam to determine if you have a Cataract in your eye.