Cataracts & Cataract Surgery

Cataracts are a common cause for poor vision. The prevalence of cataracts increases with age; more than 50 percent of people over age 55 have these lens opacities and over 70 percent of those over age 75 have this condition.

Cataract surgery has made extraordinary and exciting advances over the past 20 years. Last year, approximately 2.7 million Americans underwent cataract surgery. Greater than 95% of those patients now enjoy improved vision. State-of-the-art cataract surgery is now a safe, effective, and comfortable procedure performed almost exclusively on an outpatient basis. We use only the latest technology including the multi-focal lenses ReSTOR®, Crystalens™, Tecnis® and Toric astigmatism correcting lenses.

Most cataract surgeries are now performed using microscopic size incisions, advanced ultrasonic equipment to fragment cataracts into tiny fragments, and foldable intraocular lenses (IOLs) to maintain small incision size. Cataract surgery today is the result of extraordinary technological and surgical advancements that allows millions of people to once again enjoy crisp and clear vision. A true marvel of modern medicine, cataract surgery may restore vision to levels you may have never thought possible.

What are cataracts?cataract
A cataract is an opacification of the natural lens in the eye. The amount of clouding may vary, and generally gets worse with age. People who have a cataract may not see well enough to do the things they need or want to do.

Most cataracts progress slowly over a period of years, but their rate of progression is unpredictable. They can affect one eye or both eyes. As cataracts become more dense, they produce visual symptoms; these typically include blur, glare, halos around lights, and double vision. Colors can become dull, and driving can become difficult, especially at night. If left untreated, cataracts can eventually cause blindness. Today, however, cataracts are usually treated when they begin to interfere with activities of daily living such as reading and driving.

What causes cataracts?
There are many conditions associated with cataracts; the most common of which is aging.  Other factors include:

  • family history
  • injury to the eye
  • prolonged use of certain medications such as oral or topical steroids
  • unprotected exposure to sunlight
  • diseases such as diabetes, thyroid problems, or low blood calcium.

If you fit any of these profiles, it is especially important to have your eyes examined on a regular basis by an eye care specialist.

How is a cataract diagnosed?
A cataract can only be diagnosed through a dilated eye exam. The doctors at Provision Laser Eye Center can detect the presence and extent of your cataract as well as any other condition that may be causing blurred vision or discomfort.

How are cataracts treated - No Stitch, No Patch, No Needles, No Pain Cataract Surgery
Cataracts in the early stages can be treated by changing your eyeglass prescription. However, as the cataract becomes more advanced, surgery may be indicated. The cataract procedure is a simple 10 minute surgery where the cloudy lens is removed with an ultrasound machine and replaced with an artificial lens implant, an intraocular lens like the lens to the left. The implant has the patient's glasses prescription already built in resulting in much less reliance on glasses than beforesurgery.More importantly, the problems induced by the cataract are gone for good. The implant requires no maintenance and performs its job for the rest of the individuals life.

How can cataract surgery help me?
In the mid- and late 1990s, numerous medical studies were conducted to help us understand how cataract surgery affects the quality of life of older people. One study, conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, found that patients who had cataract surgery enjoyed an improvement in their quality of life, reflected in their driving skills, community activities, home activities, and mental health.

Driving and cataract surgery.
In addition to an improvement in overall quality of life, recent studies have shown that cataract surgery on driving safety. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that older people who have cataract surgery reduce their chances of having a car accident by more than 50 percent.

Despite the proven benefits, many patients are reluctant to have cataract surgery. They may delay it because of a lack of family support, the need to address other chronic conditions, or the mistaken perception that cataract surgery requires a significant amount of time for recovery.

Today, most cataract operations are performed in an outpatient setting and do not require admission to a hospital. Thirty years ago, thick glasses were prescribed so that people who had cataract surgery could see. In the past two decades, however, small artificial lenses that can be implanted in the eye have been developed. These intraocular lenses (IOLs) can provide good distance vision with thin glasses or, sometimes, without glasses at all. Cataract surgery iwith Dr. Durrett is a painless 10 minute procedure performed at a local outpatient surgery center.

When should cataract surgery be considered?
Based on your symptoms, you and the eye care specialists at Provision should decide together when to proceed with cataract surgery. If your loss of vision interferes with your daily activities, cataract surgery should be considered. Your doctor will discuss the various options with you before choosing the best lens that best suits your lifestyle.