Are you experiencing blurred or foggy vision and your glasses no longer seem to be helping? Does the sunlight seem to be overly bright or glaring? Do you have difficulty driving at night or are you beginning to see halos around lights, especially vehicle headlights?
If you are currently experiencing any of these symptoms, you most likely have cataracts.
What is a cataract?
Cataracts are described as a natural clouding of the eye lens which causes you to see blurred, dull images. Cataracts are very common, affecting about 20 million people worldwide.
Cataracts are actually considered an inevitable part of aging and is widespread among people 55 years and older. In fact, half of all Americans either currently have cataracts or have had cataract surgery by age 80. Cataract development is usually a relatively slow process, meaning you could have cataracts for years before they’re severe enough to be removed. Although, if left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness over time.
The good news, however, is that treatment for cataracts is highly successful; more than 97% of the 3 million-plus surgeries performed each year in the United States are successful. Cataract surgery is considered one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures. In addition, about 95% of patients are able to restore their full pre-cataract distance vision after undergoing the standard intraocular lens (IOL) procedure.
Cataract Surgery Procedure:
This procedure is very common throughout most of the world. The surgeon makes a tiny incision on the side of the cornea, then removes the eye’s clouded natural lens using a procedure known as phacoemulsification, and then replaces the old lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
Phacoemulsification is the most advanced, most common technique used today. Because this incision is less than 1/8 of an inch, stitches are typically not required and the eye heals relatively quickly on its own.
Laser Cataract Surgery
In the past, many steps of cataract surgery were traditionally performed using handheld instruments, but now, this surgery can be completed using the precision of a laser. The CATALYS Precision Laser System, which we are currently offering as an option to our patients, is specifically designed for laser cataract surgery by creating laser precise incisions to remove the cataract.
By using the CATALYS Laser, our doctors can provide you with a gentle, accurate, and customized treatment, designed specifically for you and your eyes. Thousands of patients have already been treated with this laser and have had amazing results. Be sure to ask one of our providers at the O’Byrne Eye Clinic if laser cataract surgery with the CATALYS Precision Laser System is right for you.
Intraocular Lenses (IOL)
An IOL is the artificial lens the surgeon’s implant to replace the eye’s crystalline lens that must be removed once it has become cloudy. The primary job of the IOL is to focus light onto the back of the eye (or Retina) just as a natural, healthy eye lens would do. The following are the most common types of IOLs available today:
- Monofocal IOLs provide a set focal point, usually for the distance vision. This allows cataract surgery patients to see clearly at a certain range. About 95% of people who receive a standard IOL have their vision restored to the pre-cataract state. However, most patients will still require glasses for reading. Monovision is technique the surgeon may choose to perform that involves inserting an IOL in one eye for near vision and an IOL in the other eye for distance vision. This technique requires adaptation since each lens will be oriented towards different needs.
- Multifocal IOLs are a newer type of lens that use advanced technology to treat multiple focal points and reduces or even eliminates the need for glasses after cataract surgery. As part of the rapid evolution in IOL innovations, these newer lenses are made from cutting-edge materials with unique features. This is made possible through highly specialized optics that divides light and focuses it on more than one point to provide a range from near to far sight. The most popular advanced technology lens is the Tecnis Multifocal.
- Astigmatism Correcting IOLs are able to correct astigmatism in addition to the cataract, at the time of surgery. These lenses will minimize the need for distance glasses after surgery. The IOLs we use for this option is the Tecnis Toric or Symfony Toric.