What is a Cataract?

August 1st, 2014 by Carolina Eye Associates

Cataracts Frequently Asked Questions

Carolina Eye Associates

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens inside your eye. This lens, located behind the iris, works just like the lens of a camera: focusing light images on the retina, which sends images to the brain. The human lens can become so clouded it keeps light and images from reaching the retina. Cataracts are the leading cause of visual loss in adults 55 and older.

What are the symptoms and signs of cataracts?

A cataract can cause images to become blurred and bright colors to become dull. It can also make seeing at night more difficult. Vision with cataracts is often described as seeing through an old, cloudy film. Is your vision blurry or foggy? Do colors appear dull or muted? Are your glasses no longer working? Does sunlight or other light seem overly bright or glaring? Do you have decreased night vision or see halos around lights? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may have cataracts.

When is the best time to treat cataracts?

Many people believe cataracts have to be “ripe” before they can be removed. This is no longer true. Today, cataract surgery can be performed as soon as your vision interferes with the quality of your life.

What does cataract surgery entail?

Cataract surgery is generally an outpatient procedure with little discomfort. First, you will be given an anesthetic to numb the nerves in and/or around the eye. The procedure involves making a tiny incision in the eye. The surgeon then inserts a small instrument into the eye to break up the cloudy lens with ultrasound technology and remove it from the eye. Once the cataract is removed, a new, artificial lens is inserted through the same incision.

What is an IOL?

An IOL is what is referred to as an Intraocular Lens. This is the new, artificial lens that replaces the cloudy lens. As an alternative to receiving a standard IOL, today many patients have the option to elect Advanced Technology Lenses to fit their individual lifestyle.

What are the different types of intraocular lenses implanted after cataract surgery?

Accommodative lens– Unlike traditional lenses that focus at only one or two distances, this lens moves fluidly with the natural action of the eye’s muscle. However, as with all cataract surgery, there is no guarantee that patients will not require glasses or contacts after surgery.

Multifocal lens- This type of lens is also designed to reduce a patient’s reliance on glasses or contacts, though some may still require additional correction after surgery.

Toric lens-Some patients have astigmatism, which simply involves a different shape of the front surface of the eye.

The Toric lens implant can help reduce astigmatism.

Blended vision/Monovision, is a sophisticated eye treatment which rectifies short-sightedness (myopia) in one eye and long-sightedness (hyperopia) in the other eye. Primarily the treatment is for condition called presbyopia progressive loss of the ability to focus on nearby objects.

How do I decide which lens is best for me?

After a thorough examination of your individual needs, your doctor can help you decide which lens is right for you.

What should one expect after cataract surgery?

You may be prescribed eye drops to prevent against infection, to reduce swelling, and to help your eye heal. You may need to wear eye shields for a few days following surgery. Most patients see well within a few days of recovery, though your vision may continue to improve for several days or weeks.

 Carolina Eye Associates is one of the largest eye care facilities in the southeast.  Our practice provides a full range of high quality medical and surgical eye care services.  If you would like more information on cataracts or advanced technology lenses call 910-255-2095 or visit www.carolinaeye.com.

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