What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's naturally clear lens. When the lens becomes cloudy, light rays cannot pass easily through the lens, and the image that we are looking at is blurry, i.e., the vision is blurry. Cataracts usually develop as part of the normal aging process, but they can also result from eye injuries, certain diseases, medications or genetic factors.
How Can a Cataract be Treated?
A cataract may not need to be treated if your vision is only slightly blurry. A change in your eyeglass prescription may help.
Surgery is the only way to remove and cure a cataract. When you are not able to see well enough to do the things you like to do, cataract surgery should be considered.
In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed from the eye through a small incision (usually less than 3mm). Using a technologically advanced instrument, an ultrasonic phacoemulsification hand piece removes the cataract. A permanent intraocular lens implant replaces the cataract.
Different intraocular lens implants are available. A new multifocal implant to correct distance and near vision was approved by the FDA in 2006. Additionally, pseudo accommodative lenses are also available to provide both distance and near vision. More recently a toric lens implant has been approved to correct astigmatism. Monovision is another consideration for patients who do not want to depend on glasses after the procedure.
Dr. Sacks performs cataract surgery in a state of the art outpatient setting. A patch may be placed over the eye and removed the following day. There is usually no pain and eye drops are prescribed the following day. Moderate exercise and normal activities can usually be carried out the following day.
New "Lifestyle" Intraocular Lenses
These new Intraocular Lenses (IOL's) are an exciting new technology. The traditional and most common type of implantable lens is the monofocal, or fixed-focus lens, which is intended to give clear vision at one distance. In order to see clearly at all ranges of distances, one is required to wear glasses or contact lenses.
The newer Lifestyle Intraocular Lenses known as Multifocal and Accommodative lenses are gaining in popularity. These IOL's may allow less reliance on glasses and/or contact lenses to see clearly at both near and far. While these newer IOL's do offer some people an alternative to dependence on glasses or contact lenses, they are not recommended for everyone. Ask about the new Crystalens AO and Aspheric Restor IOL's.
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