Everything You Need To Know About Cataract Surgery

Getting older has many unfortunate side effects. Joints start to wear down, aches start to creep up during the day, and everyday tasks become a little harder. If your vision is starting to become more blurry, you might be developing cataracts. Cataracts are a common symptom of ageing, but they can be corrected (and your vision will be better than ever before) with cataract surgery.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are the clouding of the lens caused by clumping proteins. The lens in our eye is made up of water and protein that is arranged in a way that focuses light into the retina. When protein in the lens clumps up and make the lens cloudy, things start to become more blurry.

Cataracts can develop in one eye or both eyes, but cataracts will not spread from one eye to the other. They tend to develop slowly over time.

What Causes Cataracts?

A few different factors may lead to cataracts, including factors that aren’t preventable. The main cause for cataracts is aging; over 65% of people over the age of 80 have cataracts in at least one eye. Cataract symptoms often start around the age of 50.

Other types of cataracts may develop due to unhealthy diets and behaviors, eye injuries, or overexposure to UV rays and radiation. Once cataracts develop, you can slow their growth by quitting smoking or adding more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. You cannot reverse the growth of cataracts.

Cloudiness and blurriness caused by cataracts can initially be treated with glasses, but once cataracts impair vision to a point that cannot be corrected by glasses or even Lasik surgery, cataract surgery is the best way to restore vision.

Is Cataract Surgery Safe?

Many eye surgeries can seem scary, but cataract surgery is very safe and effective at restoring vision for many people with cataracts. Over three million cataract surgeries are performed each year. Nine out of ten patients report having 20/20 or 20/40 vision after the surgery was completed.

Do You Need to Prepare for Cataract Surgery?

Cataracts are not the sole cause for blurry vision as you get older. In order to know whether cataract surgery is right for you, make an appointment with a trusted eye professional to get a comprehensive eye exam. The eye doctor will be able to determine whether cataracts are present and what type of lens is best for your ideal vision if you get cataract surgery.

What Is The Process Like?

Cataract surgery has evolved over time, and recent developments in laser technology has made the process faster and more efficient than ever before. Typical cataract surgeries are performed without the need to stay overnight in the hospital; you will be in an out in under half a day.

The surgery itself takes about 15 minutes to complete.

The first step of cataract surgery is phacoemulsification. Phacoemulsification is the process of removing the cloudy part of the lens. An ultrasound device breaks up the clouding proteins and sucks them out of the lens. As cataract surgery has developed over time, the incisions required to remove the clouding parts of the lens has gotten smaller and smaller.

Once the pieces of the lens are removed, the surgeon will insert an intraocular lens (IOL) where the lens used to be. Before you enter surgery, your eye doctor will determine what type of IOL will suit you and your vision needs.

The surgery is finished by the doctor closing up the places where incisions were made and adding protection that will help your eye heal during recovery. One stitch may or may not be needed.

Recently, developments in laser technology have allowed surgeons to complete cataract surgeries without as many incisions or blades. Laser-assisted cataract surgeries were approved in 2012, but have given many patients clear vision with less worry. Different types of laser cataract surgery are available for patients with astigmatism and other vision needs. This type of surgery is typically more expensive because it is new to the market, but many patients see the worth of getting optimal vision after a laser-assisted cataract surgery that doesn’t involve as many incisions.

What Does Recovery Look Like?

The surgery itself takes about 15 minutes, but you will most likely be spending more time after the surgery talking to the doctor about recovery and post-operation procedures.

After the surgery, your vision will be blurry; make sure you have someone to drive you home from the surgery and drive you around until a doctor approves your vision to drive. Most people take off work for a day or two after the surgery is completed.

Your doctor will go into the details about what your specific recovery will look like, but most patients usually have a recovery that includes:

  • Refrain from heavy lifting or strenuous activity for a week after surgery
  • Protective eyewear for outdoor activities
  • Eye drops for a few weeks after surgery
  • Care around dust, water, or bacteria that could get into your eye

 Will I Need Visual Assistance?

Many patients are able to restore their vision after cataract surgery, but other patients will have to wear corrective lenses in order to see.

Before you get cataract surgery, talk to an eye care professional about the different types of lenses that are best for your eyes. You may be able to qualify for IOLs that correct presbyopia (long-sightedness.) These IOLs include multifocal IOLs, accommodating IOLs, and extended depth of focus IOLs. These lenses are more expensive, but decrease the need for reading or computer glasses after cataract surgery.

Laser Cataract Surgery in San Antonio

Laser cataract surgery is not available in every eye care facility. If you are looking for laser cataract surgery in San Antonio, talk to the professionals at Focal Point Vision. We offer three different packages for patients with different vision needs, including cataract surgery that can address astigmatism.

Reach out to the professionals at Focal Point Vision for more information on your options for laser cataract surgery in San Antonio.

Everything You Need to Know About Laser Surgery

What is LASIK?

When we talk about eye surgery we are always invariably referring to LASIK Eye Surgery. Laser-Assisted in SItu Keratomileusis, commonly referred to as LASIK, is a laser-assisted eye surgery which is used to correct refractive errors of the eye. Lasik procedure uses a computerized laser to change the shape of the outer covering of the eye, the cornea. This allows the eye to focus light on the retina so that a clear image can be formed. Lasik is a blessing for those who are virtually blind without the glasses and are highly dependent on the contact lens as the means for avoiding glasses.

Ideal Candidate for Lasik:

You are an ideal candidate for LASIK if you are older than 18, have a stable eyesight or there have been no changes in the eyesight for at least one year. You have blurred vision without glasses and are either short sighted, far sighted with and without astigmatism and low night vision. Being older than 18 is important because before we reach that age, our eyes undergo a number age-related changes that can disrupt the changes brought about by the LASIK within a few months thereby rendering LASIK useless.

Patients with the end scale refractive errors such as short sightedness of more than −10 diopters, far sightedness of more than + 4 diopters and an astigmatism of more than 5 diopters are not considered good candidates LASIK. Some people might even have very thin corneas which also makes them unsuitable to undergo the procedure since it involves removing a small section of cornea further thinning it. There are certain eye diseases that make an individual unsuitable for surgery such as Glaucoma, in which the intraocular pressure in the eyes is raised, Strabismus, which consist of misalignment of the eyes or Herpes infection of the eye.

LASIK – Preoperative Assessment:

At Focal Point Vision (https://focalpointvision.com/), we meet with our patients to assess the need for LASIK and to answer all your questions and queries, so that you will be comfortable with the procedure as well as your surgeon. As part of the preoperative assessment, you will be asked to give a detailed ophthalmological history as well as undergo a complete eye examination. A number of eye test will also be done to look for any eye diseases, size, shape and the thickness of the cornea, as well as measuring the size of the pupil and the eye movements.

LASIK – Procedure:

LASIK procedure consists of anesthetization of one or both eyes undergoing the procedure. After anesthetizing the eye, an eyelid speculum is placed in the eye to keep the eye open for the duration of the procedure. The cornea is marked and the pupil is fixated with a suction ring. After that, a femtosecond laser is used to create a corneal flap. After the creation of the flap, it is moved away from the side. An excimer (ultraviolet) laser is used to reshape the eye centered around the pupil by removing the tissue around the cornea and the raised corneal flap is replaced.

LASIK – Post Operative Care:

The whole procedure, including the preoperative procedure, the surgery itself takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Immediately after the surgery the patient might feel mild discomfort for the first 4 to 6 hours and is recommended to close their eyes and rest or take a nap. Patients are also asked to avoid rubbing their eyes and looking directly into bright lights. The patient might also be prescribed antibiotics and steroids for 4 to 10 days. For dry eyes, artificial tears might be used for 2 to 3 months. In the follow up the patients are seen the day after the treatment and then one week later and further on a month later.

Recovery:

A difference can be felt immediately after the surgery and complete correction might take 3 months depending on the degree of refractive error and the amount of the tissue removed. For a higher degree of refractive errors and astigmatism sometimes a retreatment is required after the stabilization of the previous procedure. In this procedure, the flap is lifted again and ablated further. This procedure is known as Enhancement.

What are Refractive Errors?

Refractive errors of the eye are conditions in which the shape of the eye becomes fixed and does not bend the light adequately to form an image on the retina. This consists of 4 type of refractive errors and includes myopia (https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/myopia-nearsightedness), hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Myopia, also known as short or near -sightedness is the eye condition in which the near or close objects are clear and the distant objects are blurred. This is because the cornea becomes thick and the image is formed in front of the retina (the eye film) instead of on it.

Hyperopia (https://nei.nih.gov/health/errors/hyperopia) or far sightedness is a condition in which the cornea is too thin and bend light beyond the retina, which is why the far objects appear clear but the near objects appear blurry. Under normal conditions, the surface of the cornea is smooth and symmetrical to bends the light rays at one point on the retina on which a clear image is formed. Astigmatism (https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/astigmatism) is another one of the refractive errors in which the shape and the surface of the cornea is irregular and therefore the image gets distorted.

Presbyopia consists of the age-related changes in the eye. They are also known as the aging eye condition. The lens in the eyes consists of fibers that are flexible and change while focusing on near or distant objects. As we age these fibers become stiff and do not fully focus on objects thus causing blurred vision. There is no treatment for presbyopia as no treatment and or surgery can halt age-related changes and the individual will require glasses as the vision continues to deteriorate.

Contact Us:

If you have more question about LASIK surgery, visit us at https://focalpointvision.com/laser-cataract-surgery/. To learn more about Focal Point Vision, or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (210) 614-3600.

Everything You Need To Know About Keratoconus?

There is a common misconception that eyeballs do not grow after we are born. Our eyes do grow as the rest of our body grows, but at a slower pace than any other part. Different parts of the eye may grow at a different pace; if your cornea starts to grow and become more thin and out of shape, you may have trouble with your vision and experience the symptoms of Keratoconus.

What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus occurs when the cornea starts to thin out and the center of the cornea bulges out. This bulging causes a cone-like shape.

 

The cornea is important to our eyes for a variety of reasons. It is the outermost layer of the eye, and contains five layers of membranes that each have different functions. All five layers help to protect the rest of the eye from dirt, bacteria, and other substances that our eyes might come into contact with throughout the day.

 

Our corneas also focus 65-75% of the images that we see. Without this refractive process, the images that we see may become blurry. When the cornea becomes thin and misshapen, light cannot be reflected as effectively. This is why keratoconus can cause distorted vision and become an issue for patients. Everyday tasks like driving, reading, or typing can become difficult for patients with keratoconus.

What Are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?

Symptoms of keratoconus include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Nearsightedness
  • Astigmatism
  • Sensitivity to light

 

Not all of these symptoms automatically point to keratoconus. If you are worried that you have keratoconus, call up your eye doctor for a regular eye exam. During this exam, your eye care professional will measure the shape and size of your cornea.

What Causes Keratoconus?

Eye care professionals do not know for sure what causes keratoconus. There are a handful of theories that point to enzyme imbalances and exposure to UV rays as possible causes for keratoconus. Excessive eye rubbing is also associated with keratoconus (if you have been diagnosed with keratoconus, be careful to not rub your eyes. Rubbing your eyes can cause further damage to the cornea.)

 

Similar patterns have been found in patients with keratoconus. If you have a parent that has keratoconus, for example, you might be at a higher risk of getting keratoconus. One in ten cases of keratoconus are genetic. Keratoconus is a corneal dystrophy that affects both eyes. This condition affects 1 in 2,000 people.

 

Symptoms usually appear in the late teenage years, and may continue to progress throughout the patient’s lifetime. This process happens more quickly for some patients than others.

How Is Keratoconus Treated?

Keratoconus symptoms range from mild to severe. When patients are first diagnosed with keratoconus, they may be able to address the problem with eyeglasses. Mild cases of keratoconus can be corrected with soft contact lenses, but as the condition progresses, contact lenses may no longer be a viable option.

 

If the condition becomes more severe, treatments are available to correct the cornea’s cone-like shape. Keratoconus treatments typically do not eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses to obtain perfect vision. Options for patients with keratoconus include:

Specially Designed Contact Lenses

There are many different types of contact lenses that patients with keratoconus can use to address their symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with keratoconus, talk to your eye care professional about:

  • Custom soft contact lenses
  • Gas permeable contact lenses
  • “Piggybacking” contact lenses (two types of lenses in the same eye)
  • Hybrid contact lenses
  • Scleral and semi-scleral contact lenses
  • Prosthetic contact lenses

Intacs

In some cases of keratoconus, contact lenses will not be able to correct vision problems or adjust to the curvature of the cornea. Intacs, or intrastromal corneal ring segments, are inserts that are surgically placed into the periphery of the cornea. The inserts reshape the eye and have been proven to improve vision by two lines on a standard eye test.

 

Intacs can be the sole treatment needed to fix keratoconus. The inserts are also removable or exchangeable. If keratoconus continues to worsen with intacs, the inserts can only delay the time in which patients will have to get a corneal transplant.

 

Corneal Transplants

When keratoconus continues to progress and contact lenses or intacs are no longer a solution, eye care professionals may recommend a corneal transplant. Corneal transplants replace diseased or affected corneas with a healthy and safe cornea donated by humans after their death. Depending on the severity of keratoconus, a corneal transplant may involve replacing one or more layers of the cornea. The entire cornea may be replaced if the keratoconus is severe.

Corneal Crosslinking

Corneal crosslinking is the newest treatment for keratoconus. This process involves dropping Vitamin B2 into a patient’s eye and exposing the cornea to UV rays. The combination of B2 and UV rays forms a chemical reaction that hardens the cornea and stops the keratoconus from becoming more severe. The process will not bring the cornea back to its original rounded shape, but it has been proven to halt the progression of keratoconus in 94% of patients.

 

Corneal crosslinking has only been around for 10 years, but provides a less invasive alternative to traditional treatments for severe keratoconus. Like other treatments, patients will still have to wear glasses or contact lenses in order to see with optimal vision.

Which Keratoconus Treatment is Right For Me?

If you are looking to correct keratoconus, you have a lot of options for treatment. Before you move forward with a treatment, talk to an eye care professional about your options and hear their recommendations. Some treatments, like the corneal transplant surgery, are more invasive than others, but are one of the few options available for more severe keratoconus. Cost may also play into which treatment is best for you; newer treatments like corneal crosslinking are more expensive due to the fact that they are new on the market.

 

If you want to learn more about treating keratoconus, reach out to the experts at Focal Point Vision. We have the sole corneal crosslinking device in San Antonio that has been approved by the FDA. Over 160 patients have gone through corneal crosslinking in our office and enjoyed better vision.

Considering Cataract Surgery? Here’s What You Should Know

What is Cataract?

Eyes consist of natural transparent lens, similar to that of artificial contact lens, which bend the light and allows us to focus on near and distant objects. For one reason or the other, the lens becoming cloudy and impairing the normal vision is known as cataract (https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-cataracts). The fibers in the lens are flexible and undergo modifications as we age. If these fibers crystallize, the lens becomes opaque, and the vision starts clouding, eventually leading to blindness. Cataract is considered the leading cause of blindness worldwide that can be prevented.

Causes of Cataract

The most common cause of cataract is aging. As we age, the fibers in the lens undergo a number of physical and chemical changes associated with the aging process of the body. The other causes of cataract include trauma, in form of penetrating injury or due to chemical or electrical burns. Cataract can also be caused by chronic diseases of the body such as Diabetes Mellitus, Wilson disease etc.

Sign and Symptoms of Cataract

The sign and symptoms associated with Cataract can be sudden in onset, as in case traumatic cataract or gradual, such as is the case with age related cataract, which might take years to develop. The most common sign and symptoms include blurring or yellowing of vision, double vision, difficulty to see in low light, and sensitivity to bright light leading to the formation of halos.

Cataract Surgery

Surgery is the only definitive treatment method of cataract. In cataract surgery, the opacified lens is replaced with an artificial lens. The most commonly used method for cataract surgery in United States is phacoemulsification. This technique involves the use of ultrasound to breakdown the cloudy lens into small fragment that can be aspirated. The previously used method included a large incision in the capsular bag containing the lens and removing it in one piece, which was associated with comparatively more complications than the newer methods.

We at Focal Point Vision (https://focalpointvision.com/) use the latest technology available, which is one step ahead of phacoemulsification, the widely used method. The latest technology consist of the use of Laser to make incisions in the eye, correct astigmatism and to break down cataract lens into small fragments so that it can easily be extracted. Previously, the Ultrasound was used to breakdown the lens but since the FDA approval of LenSx Femtosecond Laser device in 2012, it has replaced the older methods.

Timings for Cataract Surgery

Depending on the cause of cataract, the surgery can be preponed or postponed, since it is not a life-threatening condition. If the cataract is due to old age, then you can wait till you feel the need for better vision. Depending on the vision of both eyes, a single eye and both the eyes can undergo this procedure. Sometimes if the cataract is in the initial stages in one eye, then we might treat one eye and postpone performing surgery on the other, all these scenarios varies according to the individual patients, and so does their treatment modalities.

If the Cataract is due to other causes such as trauma or burns then the surgery can be performed as soon as the inflammation due to injury has been settled and the patient is healthy otherwise. If this condition is secondary to other systemic diseases such as Diabetes, then we will recommend a strict control of diabetes before we perform the surgery, since there are chances of impaired healing and scar formation, leading to a condition known as secondary cataract (https://focalpointvision.com/what-is-yag-laser-treatment/), if the underlying disease is not controlled.

Surgical Procedure

The initial surgical preparation is similar in cataract surgeries with little variation. They consist of an initial eye examination, dilation of the pupil and local anesthesia to the eye. The next step consist of evenly increasing the intraocular pressure in the eye with minimal to no distortion of the structure of the eye. This is known as docking. Once docking is done, the mapping of the anterior segment of the eye is performed, which identifies the anatomical landmarks especially the posterior surface of the lens, to avoid perforating the posterior capsule (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249813/).

At this point, the previously programmed incisions can be modified, depending on requirements, as judged by the surgeon. The laser is activated, and a small incision is made in the cornea and later in the anterior capsule, after which the cataract lens is broken down into small fragment and removed via suction. The intra ocular lens (IOL) is added and adjusted into the position. The incisions are small enough to heal themselves, which is why they are not stitched. The whole procedure takes about 10 to 15 minutes, and the patient is wake throughout the procedure, though immune to pain.

Choosing the Lens

The choice of the Intra Ocular Lens (IOLs) used in the eye, depends upon a number of different factors. These factors include patient’s wishes, the cost of the lens and the surgeon’s recommendation. The most commonly used lens are Monofocal lens, since they provide the best contrast vision, and are therefore the best choice for patients who are relatively young, since the vision contrast decrease with age. On the other hand, you might still need to wear glasses for either near or distant vision.

If you are not willing to wear glasses and are looking for precise and detailed vision then you might like to think about multifocal lens. They contains different areas on the lens for near and distant vision similar to that of multifocal glasses. The major drawback of these lens is that, they can distort night vision by creating halos and worsening the glare in the bright light.

How Can We Help?

Visit us at your nearest center or call us to make an appointment. We are available to discuss the treatment option open to optimize your vision. The most frequently asked questions related to the cataract surgery are available at our website (https://focalpointvision.com/laser-cataract-surgery/), which include the relative cost for different plans, the aftercare, returning to work, use of other medications and most common complaints after surgery.

To learn more about Focal Point Vision, or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (210) 614-3600.

What is YAG Laser Treatment?

An adjustable lens is present in the eye, within the center of a transparent bag or capsule. The lens and the capsule undergo many changes throughout an individual’s lifetime. One of the changes that occur in the lens includes opacification or clouding of the lens due to a number of reasons. They include age, previous injuries to the eye, complications secondary to diseases like diabetes and hypertension and drugs such as the statins and steroids.

The clouding of the lens is a medically known condition, called the Cataract. It is the most common cause of blurring and dim vision in the elderly. The treatment consists of replacement of the cloudy lens with an artificial lens, known as the Intraocular Lens (IOL). The latest technology available for cataract is the laser treatment, which has been available at Focal Point Vision for the past twenty years.

The latest device available for this procedure is the LenSx Femtosecond Laser, which has been used at Focal Point Vision since 2012, immediately after its approval by the FDA. For more information about cataract treatment provided at our facilities, please visit our page Laser Cataract Surgery.

Sometimes after a cataract surgery, the capsule bag in which the new artificial lens is placed develops opacification on its posterior surface. This is because of the formation of new cells on the posterior layer of the capsule, which arises from the remaining cells of the previous lens. This clouding or opacifications is known as Posterior Capsular opacification (PCO) or a secondary cataract since the lens is not involved. This blurring of capsule occurs in 10% of the patients that undergo cataract surgery. There is no specific timeline for its occurrence and may arise within days or a few months to years after a cataract surgery.

The treatment of PCO is very simple and does not usually take longer than 10 to 20 minutes. This procedure is called Posterior Capsulotomy. In this procedure, an Nd: YAG laser is used to make a few small holes in the posterior surface of the capsule, allowing the light to pass through to the back of the eye. Before the procedure, the eyes of the patient are dilated to provide a larger field to work upon. Throughout the procedure, a magnifying glass is used to enlarge the view. Immediately after treatment, the patient might notice a difference in their vision.

The YAG laser treatment can be performed within days of the cataract surgery and as soon as the vision starts to blur. Sometimes after the cataract surgery, there is some inflammation around the newly inserted lens, which is why sometimes YAG laser treatment is postponed for a month or two, to allow the inflammation to settle. After the inflammation settles down and the lens becomes fixed into the capsular bag, then the YAG laser treatment can be performed.

The treatment is done on an outdoor patient basis. No preparation is needed for the procedure such as unconsciousness or change of clothes. The patient will be awake and aware throughout the procedure but will feel no pain. The first step of the treatment is the measurement of the eyesight and the testing of the vision. After the vision has been tested, drops will be added to the eye undergoing the procedure. One type of the drops will make the eyes dilate which will give the surgeon more area to work on and the other one will anesthetize the eye and numb the area so that the individual will not feel any pain or any other sensation.

The patient will be seated in front of a machine similar to the one seen during regular eye examinations. A special lens is placed in front of the patient’s eyes, which will allow the surgeon to view the ocular field more clearly and then the laser is applied to make a small hole in the posterior capsule of the lens which will allow the light to pass through, from the lens to the retina. The procedure will take 10 to 20 minutes at maximum and after that, the patient will be asked to wait for an hour during which his vision and the intraocular pressure of the eyes will be measured.

Immediately after the treatment, there will be a noticeable difference in the vision. Although there will be some blurring due to the use of dilators in the eyes and their effect will persist for a few hours, which is why the patient will be unable to drive and another arrangement might be needed to be made. After the treatment, rest is advised and the patient is free to go home. Depending on the patient and the previous eye conditions, medication such as the anti-inflammatory drugs will be prescribed for a few days to allow any persisting inflammation to settle. Other than that, no precaution will be needed and normal activities can be resumed soon after.

In YAG laser treatment, complications are very rare and usually unheard of, though there might be some minor side effects. The most common is the persisting effect of the dilators used. Due to the use of eye dilating drops, the patient might experience blurred vision for a few hours, until the effect of the dilators disappears. In the initial few hours to days, the patient might also experience some ‘floaters’ in the field of vision, which are tiny fragments of the posterior capsule and will soon disappear.

Sometimes, if laser treatment is done immediately after the cataract surgery, thus not allowing the previous inflammation to settle down first, then the eye might become red and painful after the procedure. Another complication that might be associated with the procedure is the raised intraocular pressure secondary to a previous history of Glaucoma, which is characterized by a persistently raised intraocular pressure. That is why the patient is only given leave after his intraocular pressure is found to be in a normal range and not before.

At Focal Point Vision, we pride ourselves on patients’ satisfactory results and feedbacks. Every aspect of the treatment, from regular visits to surgeries, postoperative care, and the cost, is modified to facilitate our patients so that they may get the best treatment that is offered with ease and comfort.

What are my activity restrictions after cataract surgery?

Restrictions after Cataract Surgery, by James Lehmann, MD

Cataract surgery involves removal of the cloudy lens and replacement with a clear, artificial lens.  The surgery takes 20-30 minutes and is usually done under local anesthesia with IV sedation.  The majority of patients have very little pain or discomfort after the surgery, and often ask us when it is safe for them to exercise, drive, etc.

Here’s a list of our postoperative rules:

For one week after surgery, no lifting heavier than 30 lbs, no swimming, and no eye make up like mascara or eyeliner.  It is okay if the eye gets wet during a shower, just lightly pat it dry.  Regarding exercise, light aerobic activities (like walking or using an elliptical) are fine after surgery, but refrain from intense work outs for a week.

Regarding driving, this depends on each patient’s vision in the other eye and use of glasses, but generally, most patients can drive 1-2 days after surgery.  Please ask your surgeon about this question as it pertains to you.

Common misconceptions:

Many patients think that they can’t bend over after cataract surgery.  With modern cataract surgery, this is not the case.  Also, a patch is only needed full-time for the first day after surgery.  Lastly, you can’t get another cataract once you’ve had cataract surgery.

CORNEAL ULCERS BY DR. ZACK BURKHART

Because infectious corneal ulcers are a serious problem regularly encountered at Focal Point Vision, a review of their prevention and treatment is useful.

Background

Most of the corneal ulcers seen in our practice are related to contact lens wear, and can be prevented by following a few guidelines. The most important of these is that contact lenses should always be removed from the eyes before sleeping, even if only for an hour or two. This applies to extended-wear contacts as well those marketed for “day and night” wear.  Contacts can cause microscopic abrasions of the cornea during sleep, which open a pathway for bacteria to enter the cornea and cause an ulcer, which is highly painful as well as potentially vision threatening.

Daily disposable contacts cause the fewest infections, and are preferable. If extended-wear contacts are used, they should be replaced routinely every 2-4 weeks. These lenses should be cleaned daily with preservative-free liquid cleaner and hydrogen peroxide disinfectant solution. Never clean contact lenses with tap water, and avoid swimming in contacts, especially in rivers or lakes – these activities raise the risk of a severe parasitic infection, called acanthamoeba keratitis. Fungal infections of the cornea can be caused by traumatic abrasions, especially with branches and leaves of trees and plants. For this reason safety glasses should always be worn when doing yard work and gardening.

Treatment

An infection or ulcer of the cornea usually causes pain, irritation, blurred vision, light sensitivity, tearing, and redness of the eye. If a person starts to experience  some of these symptoms, they should promptly remove their contact lenses. Eye drops, especially anti-inflammatory or steroid drops, should not be used until an experienced eye physician has closely examined the affected eye. Focal Point Vision doctors are equipped with all of the necessary tools for diagnosing infections of the eye including a confocal microscope, which can take detailed photos of each layer of the cornea in order to visualize more unusual parasitic or fungal infections.  We routinely work with local compounding pharmacies to make the strongest and most effective infection-fighting medications for our patients.