What Is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. Most cataracts form gradually, usually starting after around age 60, but may not need removal for many years. The cause of cataracts is not known but is considered an inevitable part of aging.
The main symptom of a cataract is difficulty with vision.
You may experience:
- Blurry, dim vision
- Difficulty completing tasks in low light situations
- Trouble driving at night
- Trouble with detail work
- Difficulty with colors
- Increased light sensitivity
- Double vision in one eye
If you notice any of these symptoms, a complete eye examination will usually determine if a cataract is the cause.
Cataracts are only treatable through surgery, and surgery is generally advisable only if vision impairment affects your quality of life or the ability to do the things you enjoy. A cataract does not have to be removed just because it is there, so being diagnosed with a cataract does not mean you must have surgery. In general, a cataract has to affect your vision beyond what glasses can correct.
Fortunately, cataract surgery is the most successful surgery performed on the human body, and there are about three million cataract operations done annually in the United States. It is generally an outpatient procedure, taking 30 minutes or less, with most patients returning to full activity by the next day. A clear, plastic intraocular lens (IOL) is in-variably exchanged for the cloudy one that is removed, with vision vastly improved over what it was before surgery. A recent advance in cataract surgery is the use of the femto-second laser, a computerized highly accurate apparatus that is used to perform certain parts of cataract surgery.
IOL’s now come in the standard “monofocal” type, which corrects vision for either distance or near, or one of the “premium” types such as the “multifocal” lens which corrects vision not only for far but also for near, and the “toric” or astigmatism-correcting type which can improve both distance and near if astigmatism is an issue.
A critical part of your cataract decision making process will be a thorough review of IOL options with your doctor so that the appropriate IOL type will be used for your surgery.
At Eastside Eye Associates, Dr. Shulman and Dr. Nagel use the most advanced instrumentation available to ensure as successful an outcome as possible.