Understanding Cataracts

Cataracts are one of the most common causes of correctable vision loss today. Cataract surgery has changed dramatically over the last 20 years and for the first time, patients have access to a customized laser treatment for cataracts, making the experience better for patients and enhancing the accuracy and visual results.

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Symptoms of a Cataract 

Our eye functions much like a camera. The natural lens focuses images onto the back of the eye so we can see clearly, much like the lens of a camera focuses images onto film for a clear picture. At birth, our natural lens is clear, but as we age it yellows, hardens, and may become cloudy. This condition is called a cataract, and is usually a result of the natural aging process. As the lens becomes cloudier, vision becomes more blurred. 

Symptoms that may indicate the presence of a cataract include 

  • Gradual dulling of colors 
  • Halos around lights
  • Glare when driving
  • Difficulty reading in low light
  •  Blurred vision
  • Frequent need to change your glasses prescription 

A cataract can progress until eventually there is nearly complete loss of vision in your eye. Surgery is the only way a cataract can be removed and should be considered when cataracts cause enough loss of vision to interfere with your daily activities. 

How my Physician Will Treat my Cataract

Surgery is performed in a fully-accredited outpatient surgery center. Patients need not expect to stay at the surgery center for more than a couple of hours. Prior to surgery, patients are given a relaxant to enhance calmness. Patients do not have to remain under anesthesia and should neither see nor feel any part of the surgery. Through a micro-incision, the cataract is dissolved and removed from the eye using ultrasound technology. The cataract is then replaced with a foldable lens implant through the original micro-incision. The incision is self-healing and heals without stitches.

Recovery Time Since no eye patch is used, the eye can be used for vision immediately after surgery. Because the pupil will still be dilated after surgery, your eyesight may be somewhat blurry but will gradually improve over the next few days. After a short stay in the outpatient recovery area, you will be ready to go home. You are required to have someone drive you home and you should plan to have a responsible adult remain with you for a few hours following surgery. 

For Patients with Both Glaucoma and Cataracts 

iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass stent is a new, FDA-approved surgical therapy that can significantly reduce eye pressure to help prevent vision loss. The iStent is placed in the eye during cataract surgery for the reduction of intraocular pressure (IOP) in adult patients with mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma. 

MY LENS REPLACEMENT OPTIONS

There are many different types of intraocular lenses (IOLs) to choose from to correct a cataract lenscataract. Lens replacement remains the most frequently performed and safest surgery in the U.S. You have several options today in choosing a lens replacement solution for your vision needs.  

Multifocal and Accommodating IOLs are designed to eliminate your need or reduce your dependence on glasses after cataract surgery compared to the traditional monofocal IOLs. They are designed to provide both distance (far away) and near (close up) focus at all times.


Monofocal

Traditional cataract surgery uses a standard single-focus lens, or monofocal, lens implant to replace the clouded natural lens to help improve vision. A monofocal lens implant provides excellent vision after cataract surgery-but only at one set distance-usually for seeing things at a distance, you will likely still need glasses for any type of near vision activity-for example reading, sewing, keeping your golf score, or fine detail work. Full-time glasses, however, may still be needed for patients whose prescriptions are more complex.

Multifocal

A multifocal lens implant provides excellent vision after cataract surgery at a variety of distances. Multifocal lens implants correct both your distance vision and your near vision after cataract surgery. For the vast majority of patients, having a multifocal lens implant means that you will be able to see at distance and up close without being dependent on glasses. Patients choosing to have a multifocal lens implant will likely find that they can drive, watch television, read or do crafts-without the need for glasses.

The Tecnis Multifocal® lens was designed to give patients back their youthful vision by correcting vision at any distance, and in any light condition — even in low light.

The first and only extended depth of focus lens, the TECNIS Symfony® IOL combines a unique diffractive pattern with achromatic technology to deliver outstanding visual acuity over a continuous range of distances while maintaining high image contrast.

As with any surgical procedure there are associated risks and benefits. While virtually everyone experiences an improvement in vision after cataract surgery, some people will have better uncorrected vision than others.

Therefore, it is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your doctor. Good candidates for the Multifocal lens implant should have realistic goals for their vision and receive a complete evaluation by a BVA Ophthalmologist specializing in multifocal lens implantation.

Accommodative IOL

This type of lens is called an accommodating lens because it is flexible and able to change focus in response to the focusing muscles in our eyes just as the natural lens does for people under the age of forty.

The Bausch & Lomb Crystalens® accommodating lens is designed to restore the eye’s accommodation ability, which is gradually reduced as presbyopia progresses. Like your natural lens, Crystalens works naturally with muscles in the eye to retain the eye's ability to "accommodate" – shift focus between nearby and distant objects – after cataract surgery.

The Crystalens has the great advantage of allowing virtually all patients to see at both distance and intermediate distance without using glasses. In addition, most patients are able to read without glasses for all but the finest of print. In practice, the Crystalens is able to satisfy the visual needs of most patients for most of their daily activities without glasses. It is particularly good for driving, computers, cell phones, and newspaper sized print.

Most patients with cataracts or who have had corneal refractive surgery and retained good eye health are acceptable candidates for Crystalens implantation, but those who have already had cataract surgery are not. Good candidates for the Crystalens should have realistic goals for their vision and receive a complete evaluation by a BVA physician.
Video by EyeSmart — American Academy of Ophthalmology

Toric IOL

For cataract patients with astigmatism, successful cataract surgery is only half the battle for regaining quality vision. BVA Advanced Eye Care offers the AcrySof Toric lens implant, a design proven to correct both your cataracts and astigmatism simultaneously. Implanted in the eye to restore distance vision after cataract surgery, the AcrySof Toric lens has a unique patented design that provides both spherical and astigmatic correction. Video by Eye Smart - American Academy of Ophthalmology

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Beyond Traditional Cataract Surgery

Catalys Precision Laser System

In traditional cataract surgery, incisions in the cornea are made using handheld blades to access the cataract. However, the Catalys Precision Laser System offers tailored treatment to each individual’s eye. With Catalys, your surgeon can make the incisions with exceptional precision and accuracy, creating a circular opening with the exact intended size, shape and location using the precision of the laser. 

The laser can also be used to break up and soften the hard cataract. Softening the lens with the Catalys laser enables your surgeon to then remove the cataract more gently and with significantly less ultrasound energy than is used in traditional manual cataract surgery. Learn More

ORA Guided Cataract Surgery

ORA (Optiwave Refractive Analysis) is a revolutionary new option used to gather data during cataract surgery to optimize postoperative visual outcomes. The ORA System assists the surgeon to select intraocular lenses (IOLs) that will match a patient’s precise needs regarding lens power, magnitude and axis of astigmatism, and aphakic and pseudophakic measurements. Whether the patient has had LASIK or has astigmatism, an ORA-guided cataract procedure provides the security of knowing they can have the best possible outcome, and reduce the chance of needing an additional procedure.

Learn More about how ORA works, and Who is a candidate for ORA


Cataract Surgery - Before and After

Get in Touch:

BVA Advanced Eye Care has 3 optometrists, and 3 ophthalmologists to create Better Vision Ahead. The first step of creating better vision is to speak with an eye doctor. You can contact us through our website or give us a call at 1-888-323-3937

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