Many of us might be somewhat aware of what a cataract is – a clouding of the natural lens within the eye. It will happen to everyone eventually if they live long enough, but they can occur in people at younger ages based on lifestyle and genetic factors.
The treatment for any cataract that has advanced enough to reduce one’s vision is surgery, and cataract extraction is one of the most commonly performed and safest surgeries in the world. Read on to learn more about the process of getting cataracts evaluated and removed so that you can return to clear vision.
Before Cataract Surgery
If you receive proper regular eye examinations with our optometrist, they will monitor your natural lenses and cataracts over time. When cataracts become advanced enough that they cause moderately reduced vision that can no longer be corrected by glasses and that gets in the way of normal daily functions like driving, a referral is made to an ophthalmologist for cataract surgery.
You will then likely have a consultation appointment with the surgeon where you will also decide what type of intraocular lens (IOL) you want in your eyes to replace the natural lens with the cataract. After this consultation appointment, the surgery day will be booked. Each eye is normally done a few weeks apart.
Standard IOLs are made for one distance, often for far away, just like wearing single vision distance glasses. Using these will correct the cataract and your distance refractive error, but reading glasses will still be required for up close.
Wavefront IOLs make use of additional technology to study exactly how your eyes form images and how to perfect this process. These cost more but provide better contrast and detail vision in settings like night driving.
Finally, multifocal IOLs are a little bit like progressive glasses or multifocal contacts in that they clear up vision a little bit in both distance and near. They are not perfect, however, and some patients still require glasses at these distances to achieve perfect vision.
The Day of Cataract Surgery
On surgery day, your pupils will be heavily dilated to make room for the surgeon to get to the cataract within the eye. Your eyes will be numbed and you will be awake for the procedure.
The surgeon makes two small incisions in the side of the eye to allow them to get their instruments inside. First they fill the eye with a substance that acts like a shock absorber to protect the surrounding eye tissues. They then peel the front part of the lens capsule away so they can get at the cataract.
A machine is used that acts as a simultaneous high powered sonic drill and vacuum cleaner to eat up the cataract, leaving the rest of the lens bag behind. The new compact IOL is then injected into this space, opened, and oriented to its proper position and rotation. The shock absorber substance is then taken out and the surgery is finished.
After the surgery you will be on several drops to prevent infection, pain, and excessive inflammation while you heal. There may be some pain and blurry vision at first that improve as you recover.
Often times there will be one day, one week, 2-3 weeks, one month, and 6 weeks post-op appointments, with a full examination and refraction with our optometrist to find the right prescription for new glasses at the 6 week mark. It is very important to follow all instructions given to you by your eye doctors during this process to avoid any unnecessary complications.
Our eye doctors at EyeDocs Family Eye Care in Brookville, OH excel in prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye disese. Call our optometrists at 937-770-1265 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to be evaluated for cataracts or are interested in cataract surgery. Our eye doctors, Dr. Kyle Maxam and Dr. Cara Wampler, provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Brookville, Ohio.
You can schedule your next appointment with us online!
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430 Arlington Rd. Suite B | Brookville, OH 45309 | 937-770-1265