Here at Fusion Eye Care, we see patients with cataracts on a regular basis. If you think you might be developing cataracts, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Bassiri as soon as possible by calling (919) 977-7480.
What Causes A Cataract
A cataract will occur whenever the lens in your eye, which is usually clear, becomes cloudy. As one would suspect, this frequently impairs your vision. When you have clouded vision it can make it harder for you to see as clearly as before, drive a car, read or many other activities.
Cataracts for most people, which slowly develop over time, are part of the natural aging process. Around 50 percent of Americans 65 to 75 years old have cataracts of some sort.
The key to being able to live with cataracts is being able to tell when it is time for you to not live with them any longer. This usually occurs when your regular lifestyle – seeing the expression on your grandchild or child’s face, driving to the store, reading the newspaper – starts to be jeopardized due to your impaired vision. Advanced surgical methods have fortunately made cataract surgery among the most successful surgical procedures that are performed today.
Symptoms and Signs
Symptoms and signs of cataracts might include the following:
- Blurry or dim vision
- Halos around lights
- Poor night vision
- Sensitivity to glare and light
- Frequent eyeglass prescription changes
- Brighter light needed for reading and other types of activities
The most effective cataracts treatment is surgery. Over 95 percent of individuals who have their cataracts removed end up having better vision.
Using local anesthesia and microsurgery, an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) will remove the cataract, while most of the natural lens capsule of your eye is still left in place. Your lens capsule helps to support the new clear artificial lens that is inserted by the surgeon to replace your old cloudy lens. Usually, this procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and will take under one hour to complete. If both of your eyes are affected, usually surgery is performed on just one eye, and then the first eye is allowed to heal before any surgery is performed on your second eye.
The following are the two most commonly performed surgical methods:
Often this method is referred to as “phaco” and in the U.S is the most common type of cataract surgery performed. A special instrument is used by an eye surgeon to break the cataract up with ultrasound waves, and the emulsified pieces are then vacuumed out. Only a very small eye incision – around 1/8 inch (or 3 millimeters) is required by Phacoemulsification.
An incision of around 3/8 of an inch (10 millimeters) in length is made by the eye surgeon to open your lens capsule up and take out the central, harder part of the lens all in one piece. Then the surgeon vacuums the softer parts of your lens out. This method might be suggested by your surgeon if your cataracts have advanced past the point where phacoemulsification can be effective.
After the cataract has been removed, an artificial lens implant will be inserted by the eye surgeon. This implant is corrected to meet the specific needs of your eye. The flexible implant lens is folded by the surgeon to insert it, and then once the lens is in place is opens to around 1/4 inch (6 millimeters. No sutures are needed in a majority of cataract surgery cases.
Your eye initially might have mild irritation and inflammation and for a few days might feel a bit scratchy. During the first 24 hours, you might need to wear a patch over your eye. Usually, you will have return visits set up to see you doctor for the day following surgery and then several times over the following 4 to 6 weeks.
Usually, your vision will start to improve within 1 to 2 days of having surgery. Since it takes time for your eye to heal from your surgery, the biggest improvement in your visions won’t take place until around four weeks following your surgery. After cataract removal, a majority of individuals still have to wear glasses.
Although cataract surgery is usually successful, complications like retinal detachment, infection, inflammation, swelling or bleeding can occur. Call your doctor right away if you are experiencing any of the following after you have cataract surgery:
- Excessive coughing, vomiting or nausea
- Multiple new spots in front of your eye or light flashes
- Significant eye redness increase
- Pain that continues to persist despite using over-the-counter pain medication
- Loss of vision
Cataract surgery occasionally will not help if there are other eye diseases present, like macular degeneration or glaucoma.
If you have any additional questions about cataracts, Fusion Eye Care is here to help. Please schedule an appointment with Dr. Bassiri as soon as possible by calling (919) 977-7480.