What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens in the eye, which is responsible for focusing light onto the retina to produce clear vision. The clouding of the lens occurs when proteins in the lens clump together, making it difficult for light to pass through.
Cataracts typically develop slowly and gradually over time, often causing a gradual decrease in vision. Some common symptoms of cataracts include blurred or cloudy vision, difficulty seeing at night, sensitivity to light and glare, changes in seeing colors, and the appearance of halos around lights.
Cataracts are common in older people and can be caused by several factors including age, genetics, some medications, and exposure to UV radiation from the sun and tanning beds.
What happens during a consultation for cataract surgery?
During your consultation, your ophthalmologist at Coastal Skin and Eye will perform a thorough examination for your eyes and discuss your medical history and symptoms to determine if cataract surgery is right for you. If your exam confirms that you have cataracts and would benefit from cataract surgery, we will discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure and answer your questions.
How to choose the right replacement lens?
When you decide to proceed with cataract surgery, Dr. Crosby will discuss the various types of intraocular lenses (IOLs) available, their benefits and risks. The most common types are:
- Monofocal IOLs: These are the most commonly used IOLs and are designed to correct vision at a single distance, usually distance vision. Patients may still need glasses or contact lenses for reading or other close-up tasks.
- Multifocal IOLs: These IOLs are designed to correct vision at multiple distances, allowing patients to see clearly at both near and far distances without the need for glasses or contacts. However, some patients may experience glare or halos around lights at night.
- Accommodating IOLs: These IOLs are designed to mimic the natural lens of the eye and adjust focus depending on the distance of the object being viewed. While not as effective as multifocal IOLs, they can provide some degree of near and intermediate vision without the need for glasses or contacts.
- Toric IOLs: These IOLs are designed to correct astigmatism, a condition in which the cornea is irregularly shaped, causing blurry vision. Toric IOLs can improve distance vision and reduce the need for glasses or contacts, but patients may still need them for reading or other close-up tasks.
- Aspheric IOLs: These IOLs are designed to reduce distortion and improve contrast sensitivity, which can improve visual acuity in low light conditions.
What is cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is the surgical procedure performed to remove a cataract and replace it with an artificial lens. The procedure is typically done on an outpatient basis and is considered one of the safest and most commonly performed surgeries in the world.
We offer a range of surgical options, including traditional cataract surgery and advanced laser cataract surgery. Both procedures are safe and effective. We will work with you to determine the best option for your needs.
Cataract surgery is only performed on one eye at a time, even if both eyes have cataracts, for several reasons:
- Recovery from surgery involves some restriction on activities, such as avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for a period of time.
- Having surgery on only one eye at a time allows you to adjust to the new vision before operating on the other eye. It also allows you to compare vision in each eye after surgery to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.
What is the surgical procedure?
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia. During cataract surgery, your Coastal Skin and Eye surgeon will make a small incision in the eye to access the cloudy lens. They will then use ultrasound energy to break up the cataract into small pieces that can be easily removed from the eye. Once the cataract has been removed, the surgeon will insert the IOL through the same incision and position it in place.
After the IOL is in place, the surgeon will close the incision using tiny sutures or self-sealing incisions that do not require sutures. The entire procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes, but the patient may need to stay in the clinic for a few hours for observation.
After surgery, the patient will be given eye drops to use for several weeks to prevent infection and reduce inflammation. They will also be given instructions on how to care for the eye and when to follow up with their ophthalmologist.
Cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure with a high success rate. Most patients experience improved vision and can resume their normal activities within a few days to weeks after surgery. However, like any surgical procedure, cataract surgery carries some risks, such as infection, bleeding, or swelling, which can affect the outcome of the procedure. Your ophthalmologist will discuss the risks and benefits of cataract surgery with you and determine if it is the best treatment option for your individual needs.
At Coastal Skin and Eye, we understand that cataract surgery is a significant decision that requires careful consideration. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make an informed choice.
Contact us at our Carmel Mountain or Encinitas location to schedule a consultation with one of our Board-certified ophthalmologists and discover the benefits of clear vision and how we can help you achieve it.