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.

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.