What is Cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. Vision through eyes with cataracts is characterized as looking through a cloudy window. The development of cataract is usually a gradual process that comes with normal aging, but can occasionally occur quickly. Many people are unaware that they have cataracts because the changes in their vision are so gradual. Cataracts are very common, affecting roughly 60% of people over the age of 60, and over 1.5 million cataract surgeries are performed in the United States each year.
Cataract surgery has an extremely high success rate. One and a half million people have this procedure every year. But in most cases, vision, as well as quality of life, improves.
Some common symptoms of cataracts may include:
- Painless blurring of vision
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Double vision in one eye
- Poor night vision
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Frequent changes in glasses or contact lens prescription.
In today’s day and age, cataract surgery at Coastal Eye Clinic is relatively simple: the surgeon removes the clouded natural lens from the eye and replaces it with a new clear lens implant, called an intraocular lens, which will focus light that enters the eye.
On the day of surgery, the patient will be given medication for relaxation and anesthetic eye drops that keep the patient comfortable during the surgery. To prevent infection, the skin surrounding the eye is cleaned, and strict precautions are observed to maintain a sterile environment.
The surgeon uses a microscope throughout the procedure. Only a very small (1/8″) incision is made to remove the clouded lens. The surgeon then implants the new intraocular lens its place, while the incision seals and heals. Stitches are rarely needed. The entire process is usually finished in as little as 15 minutes. The patient is then taken to the recovery area, and after a brief stay, returns home with a designated driver.
Most patients experience better vision within a few days. Over than 99 percent of patients who undergo cataract removal rank their vision as significantly improved.