If you’re like most U.S. citizens, cataracts are something you’ll have to deal with during your lifetime. The National Institutes of Health says that by the age of 80, more than half of Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
Fortunately for those who are or will be afflicted with this condition, there are advanced cataract treatments that can lead to healthier vision.
What Are Cataracts?
Everyone at some point in their life will develop cataracts as they age. A cataract is formed when the natural lens of your eye becomes cloudy and interferes with the quality of your vision.
Common causes of cataracts include:
- Complications due to diabetes
- Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (sunlight, tanning booths, and sunlamps)
- Other eye conditions such as glaucoma and retinitis
- Long-term use of steroid medicine
- Eye injury
- Congenital condition
Read more information on cataracts and eye health.
How do I Know if I Have Cataracts?
If you’ve noticed changes in your vision, you may wonder if you should be looking at cataract treatment options. Before you do, seek a qualified eye professional’s opinion if you’re experiencing the following symptoms:
- Blurry vision
- Faded colors
- Poor night vision
- The appearance of a halo around a glare; or if the light from headlights, lamps, or sunlight appears too bright
- Double vision
- Frequent eyeglass or contact lens prescription changes
If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam with a trusted eye care professional. These are among the tests you’ll receive to learn more about your eye’s structure:
- Visual acuity test to measure your vision at various distances
- Dilated eye exam to dilate your pupils so your retina and optic nerves can be examined for damage
- Tonometry to measure the pressure within your eye
How do Cataracts Change Your Eyes?
The lenses in your eyes are like a camera’s lens – you’re able to see because they focus light on the retina at the back of the eye and adjust the focus so that you can see close or far.
The lens in an eye is primarily made up of water and protein. As we age, the protein is affected by wear and tear. As it begins to break down, it sometimes clumps together and clouds a portion of the lens. As time goes on, the clump (cataract) could grow larger and block more of the lens, obscuring vision more.
What are Some Cataract Treatment Options?
Removal of cataracts is crucial to prevent severe loss of vision. The surgical treatment for cataracts has dramatically evolved over the years. Recent innovations in cataract surgery now make it possible for cataracts to be removed with greater precision and accuracy.
Laser Cataract Surgery
Traditional cataract surgery involves the use of a surgical blade to perform corneal incisions and anterior capsulotomies of the eye, ultimately making it possible to remove the cataract. The LenSx femtosecond laser is designed to improve precision and reproducibility during certain challenging and critical steps of cataract surgery. Because this technology allows for laser precision during these steps, the laser may contribute to improved surgical outcomes. Microsurgical instruments are used to gently dissolve and remove the cloudy lens. Once the cloudy part of the lens is removed, a small foldable intraocular lens is inserted and unfolds to replace the cataract. These highly advanced lenses are known as Intraocular Lenses or IOL’s and can be either conventional or advanced technology lenses.
Tri-Moxi dropless cataract surgery
One of the latest updates to the advanced procedures is Tri-Moxi, or “dropless,” cataract surgery. To prevent infection and inflammation, patients are generally prescribed eye drops after cataract surgery that need to be used several times per day for several weeks. With dropless cataract surgery, the necessary medications are placed inside your eye at the time of your procedure, before you leave the operating suite. We can safely and effectively use this option for most patients, which adds convenience and reduces costs for you.
Previous cataract surgery technologies provided only one focal point, leaving people dependent upon reading glasses or bifocals. Recent advancements in multifocal technology now make it possible for you to read without magnifying glasses while still seeing objects at a distance. These lenses are not for everyone and some additional testing will need to be done to determine if you are a candidate for these advanced technology lenses. Talk with your eye doctor if you’re interested in multifocal correction lenses.
Toric interocular lenses
Today’s Cataract patient demands excellent vision after surgery. People with astigmatism (irregular shape of the cornea that requires glasses for correction) may elect for a lens that addresses astigmatism providing distance and in some cases intermediate vision. The most advanced method of distance vision correction uses a lens called a Toric lens. The Toric lens incorporates unique optics to compensate for specific deficiencies in your vision. Astigmatism correction may be the best choice for you if you would like to further improve your quality of vision and reduce your dependency on glasses.
Learn More About Cataract Treatment Options
Patients who have chosen advanced technology lenses seem very happy with the results and would most likely recommend them to their friends and family who have cataracts. The choice of lens is an investment that can help you maintain your standard of living and enjoy good vision during every waking moment for the rest of your life.
If you think you have cataracts or if the diagnosis has been confirmed by a medical eye care professional, before going into a traditional surgery situation talk with your eye doctor about replacement lens options. For a comprehensive eye exam or professional eye care advice, contact Barnet Dulaney Perkins and schedule an appointment.