Cataracts, Cataract Surgery
& Lens Implants
As we get older, cataracts become a problem experienced by a great number of people just like you. Cataracts are a common cause of vision problems among people in their 50’s and 60’s and they are actually a major cause of senior eye problems and vision loss. More than 20 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts and more than half of all Americans develop cataracts by age 80. A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye preventing light rays from passing through it easily. This results in a clouding and blurring of your vision. For many patients, cataracts start out slowly and have little effect on vision at first. But, as the cataract becomes denser, so does the impact on vision.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Symptoms of cataracts may cause a clouding or blurring of your vision and may make you feel that you need a change of eyeglasses. You may notice that it is not as easy to see well and comfortably in dim illumination, such as for night driving. You may notice that colors look faded and you may be bothered by glare, haloes, light sensitivity and a continuing decrease in your vision. These are the visual symptoms that are common for those patients whose crystalline lens has clouded and formed a cataract. If you are experiencing one of more of these symptoms, please be sure to let your eye doctor know at your eye exam.
During cataract surgery, we remove the cataract and replace it with a clear, permanent lens implant in order to correct your vision. Among seniors and “baby boomers,” cataract surgery is one of the safest, most effective, predictable and common operations performed in the US, with more than 2.5 million people having cataract surgery and lens implants each year. At Bloomfield Eye Associates, our cataract surgeons typically perform the cataract procedure on an outpatient basis at one of our affiliated, comfortable, AAAHC (Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care), Medicare and New Jersey licensed ambulatory surgery centers.
The Cataract Surgery Procedure
Preparation for your cataract operation will begin with a few sets of drops being placed in your eye to dilate your pupil. Additionally, your eye will be treated with anesthetic drops to numb the surface of your eye so that you will feel little, if any, discomfort during your cataract surgery. In addition, you will be given medicines to help you relax, if desired. The entire procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes and is not uncomfortable. During your preoperative measurement visit, your cataract surgeon may recommend performing your cataract surgery with a laser in order to provide a more gentle procedure. Also, your cataract surgeon and the staff will discuss choosing a cataract lens implant to correct your vision and help you see clearly. Our eye surgeons can use multifocal cataract lens implants to correct vision at distance, arm’s length and up close, as well as toric lens implants to correct astigmatism, so that you are not dependent on glasses after cataract surgery. We will take the time necessary to answer all of your questions so you can relax on the day of your surgery.
We will arrange to see you within 24 hours of your cataract and lens implant procedure so we can examine you in order to confirm that you are healing and seeing as planned. The doctors will also prescribe some eye drops for you to use, and will ask you to wear a protective shield, mainly at night, to remind you not to accidentally rub your eye. Although each patient will heal a little bit differently, the majority of patients having cataract surgery with the cataract surgeons at Bloomfield Eye Associates are able to see well enough to return to their routine daily activities within a day or so after their operation.
About Laser Cataract Surgery
Laser cataract surgery is often recommended by Bloomfield Eye Associates cataract surgeons as cataract surgery is a technically complex type of eye surgery requiring tremendous surgical skill and performing a number of manual steps with the laser can help make your cataract surgery procedure even gentler and provide a quick visual recovery. Our cataract surgeons believe that incorporation of the femtosecond laser into the cataract surgery and lens implant procedure is beneficial for:
- Creating “perfect” incisions-without using a blade or knife-in terms of size and architecture, which is important in order to have the incision seal properly without the use of stitches and to prevent infection.
- Creating a perfectly centered and sized “capsulotomy”, which is the “opening” prepared in the front of the crystalline lens through which the cloudy lens material is removed.
- Liquefying, softening or “chopping” the crystalline lens, in order to allow the cloudy material to be removed so as to deliver a gentler eye surgery procedure.
- Creating the possibility of precisely sized and placed corneal incisions, such as might be performed with Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRI), to correct pre-existing astigmatism.
Laser cataract surgery allows eye surgeons to deliver a number of the skill intensive steps of cataract surgery in a safe, more precise and gentler manner.
About Cataract Lens Implants
During your cataract exam and pre surgery measurement visit, our cataract surgeons and the staff will discuss choosing a cataract lens implant to correct your vision and help you see clearly. Depending on your personal daily activities and how you use your eyes, your cataract surgeon may recommend multifocal cataract lens implants such as the AcrySof® IQ PanOptix™ Trifocal Lens Implant, the TECNIS Symfony Lens Implant (IOL) or the AcrySof™ IQ Vivity™ Extended Vision Intraocular Lens which can correct distance vision, as well as arms’ length vision and close reading vision for most patients with reduced dependence on bifocals or reading glasses. If you have astigmatism and need to see clearly at distance without glasses, your cataract surgeon may recommend a toric lens implants to correct the astigmatism such as the AcrySof® Toric or the TECNIS Toric Lens Implant so that you can reduce your dependence on glasses after cataract surgery. We will take the time necessary to answer all of your questions so you can relax on the day of your surgery.