Cataract Surgery

WHAT IS A CATARACT
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night) or see the expression on a friend's face.

Most cataracts develop slowly and don't disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision.
Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 and is the principal cause of blindness in the world. In fact, there are more cases of cataracts worldwide than there are of glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy combined

A cataract can occur in either or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other.

CAUSES
Cataract development is usually a gradual process of normal aging, but can occasionally occur rapidly. Rarely, cataracts can present at birth or in early childhood as a result of hereditary defects, severe trauma to the eye and eye surgery can also cause cataracts to occur earlier in life.


Other factors that may lead to development of cataracts at an earlier age include excessive ultraviolet-light exposure, diabetes, smoking, or the use of certain medications, such as oral, topical, or inhaled steroids.

SYMPTOMS
A cataract can occur in either or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other. Common symptoms are:
• Having blurry vision
• Seeing double (when you see two images instead of one)
• Being extra sensitive to light
• Having trouble seeing well at night, or needing more light when you read
• Seeing bright colors as faded or yellow instead

DIAGNOSIS
Cataracts can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination.
This examination may include:
1. Patient health history, to determine if vision difficulties are limiting daily activities and other general health concerns affecting vision.
2. Visual acuity measurement, to determine to what extent a cataract may be limiting clear distance and near vision.
3. Refraction, to determine the need for changes in an eyeglass or contact lens prescription.
4. Evaluation of the lens, under high magnification and illumination to determine the extent and location of any cataracts.
5. Evaluation of the retina of the eye.
6. Measurement of pressure within the eye.
7. Supplemental testing for color vision and glare sensitivity.

Further testing may be needed to determine how much the cataract is affecting vision and to evaluate whether other eye diseases may limit vision following cataract surgery. Using the information from these tests, your optometrist can determine if you have cataracts and advise you on your treatment options.

TREATMENT
The only way to remove a cataract is with surgery. Your ophthalmologist will recommend removing a cataract when it keeps you from doing things you want or need to do. During cataract surgery, your cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens. That lens is called an intraocular lens (IOL). Our ophthalmologist will talk with you about IOLs and how they work. Medicines or glasses will not cure cataract.