No one knows for sure why the eye’s lens changes as we age, forming cataracts. But over time the lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil, begins to cloud. This clouding of the lens is a cataract.
A cataract starts out small and at first has little effect on your vision. In fact, in the early stages, only a doctor can detect a cataract because there may not be any symptoms. When you do start to notice changes in vision, they could include:
- Blurry distance vision, especially outdoors
- Streaks or rays of light seeming to come from headlights and stop lights
- Instinctively shading your eyes from the sun, or feeling more comfortable wearing a visor
- Print appearing faded and lacking in contrast
- Colors appearing faded or changed in hue. Blue may appear to be green and yellow may look white
- Difficulty reading menus at your favorite restaurant
Because these may also be symptoms of other eye conditions, The Infinity Eye Care Center recommends that you are seen by an eye care professional annually, or whenever you notice a persistent change in your vision.
Your complete eye examination at Infinity Eye Care Center will include dilation of the pupils to fully examine the health of your eyes and determine if surgery is needed. Some people have a hard time driving following eye dilation and it is recommended that you bring someone to drive you home. In the case that you need a cataract surgery, we will perform measurements called biometry to determine the proper power of the implanted IOL. We may also perform additional testing necessary prior to your surgery based on the health of your eyes and your particular need. While the method used to calculate the power of the IOL is very accurate, in rare cases the final result may be different from what was planned. Patients who are highly nearsighted or highly farsighted have the greatest risk of differences between planned and actual outcomes. Patients who have had LASIK or other refractive surgeries done prior to their cataract surgery are especially difficult to measure precisely.
The Cataract Surgery Procedure
Cataract surgery can typically be performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure involves a small incision to remove the cataract. The incision usually heals rapidly with minimal discomfort, and patients are often very quickly back to normal daily activities. Once you have been evaluated, our experienced cataract surgeon will talk with you about your options and determine the best treatment plan for your unique needs. During cataract surgery, one of our surgeons will remove the clouded natural lens and replace it with an artificial, intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL will permanently serve as the eye’s new lens. It is important to note that cataract surgery cannot treat the effects of conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or age-related macular degeneration. While many individuals who have nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism will still need corrective eyewear following cataract surgery, some patients may benefit from advanced types of IOLs that can accommodate for those types of refractive errors. Our doctor will talk with you about your options during your initial consultation.
Cataract surgery is typically performed in one eye at a time; surgery on the other eye can be performed one to two weeks later.
Cataract Surgery Recovery
After cataract surgery, our team here at Infinity Eye Care Center will provide you with detailed instructions on the recovery process. You will be given some special eye drops to use for about three weeks after the procedure in order to facilitate healing. We will also make sure that you have follow-up visits scheduled as needed during the first few weeks and months after surgery. Most patients who have cataract surgery are able to resume normal daily routines within one week after the procedure.
- What exactly is a cataract?
A cataract is a cloudiness of the eye’s natural lens.Is cataract surgery serious?
All surgery involves some risk. However, cataract surgery is the most commonly performed type of surgery in the Pakistan. Many surgeons have performed several thousand procedures. Choosing a surgeon who is experienced will reduce the risk of something going wrong. For a full list of risks and benefits of cataract surgery, please refer to your doctor.Are cataracts found only in older people?
About half of the population age 55 and older, have a cataract and nearly everyone over 65 has at least one. In rare cases, infants can have congenital cataracts. These are usually related to the mother having German measles, chickenpox, or another infectious disease during pregnancy. Cataracts can also form as a result of an injury to the eye.My doctor advises me to wait before removing the cataract. Why?
Your doctor is probably advising you to wait until the cataract grows to the point of interfering significantly with your vision. You need to continue to visit your eye doctor regularly to monitor the cataract’s progress. Some cataracts never quite reach the stage where they should be removed. If your cataract is interfering with your vision to the point where it is unsafe to drive, or doing everyday tasks is difficult, then it’s time to discuss surgery with your doctor.How are cataracts removed?
There are two principal methods. Extracapsular extraction, the most commonly performed cataract procedure, removes the natural lens. The lens is suctioned out, or broken into pieces with ultrasonic waves (phacoemulsification), then suctioned out. Usually a replacement lens (IOL) is inserted.
Intracapsular extraction is performed much less often; this is when both the lens and membrane holding the lens in the eye are removed to ensure that the membrane won’t eventually grow cloudy and interfere with vision. When the membrane becomes cloudy, or if any bits of remaining natural lens become cloudy, this is called a secondary cataract. The problem with intracapsular extraction is that the membrane is no longer there to receive a replacement lens.Are thick glasses needed following cataract surgery?
Cataract patients who have intraocular lenses (IOLs) implanted during surgery to replace the focusing power of the lens, may need reading glasses for close vision. People who don’t receive IOLs may wear contact lenses for distance vision and reading glasses for close work. Or they may wear multifocal lenses for all distances. Rarely does anyone have to wear thick eyeglasses.