This week, we will cover some of the most common questions we encounter when we discuss cataracts and cataract surgery with patients.
What Causes a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens that sits behind the iris, the colored part of the eye. With time, this lens clouds and affects the quality of our vision. Even a change in one’s glasses or contact lenses will not restore your vision at this point.
How is a Cataract Treated?
Cataracts are treated with cataract surgery. This is one of the most common surgeries in the United States, with nearly 4 million being done each year.
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning the patient will go home on the same day of surgery.
During surgery, the surgeon will remove the cataract and replaces it with a lens implant. There are a variety of lens implants available for cataract surgery. Your surgeon and you will discuss which implant will be best for your particular situation and your goals for vision after surgery.
Will I Need Glasses After Cataract Surgery?
There is often the potential for patients to be less dependent on glasses and contact lenses after cataract surgery. If you have other conditions such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, this may limit how free of glasses you are after cataract surgery.
With monofocal implant lenses, we can help minimize any farsightedness or nearsightedness after surgery. These lenses have one focal point at either distance or near depending on a patient’s preference. They do not correct any astigmatism that may be present prior to cataract surgery.
Toric implant lenses cannot only address any nearsightedness or farsightedness that may be present prior to surgery, but they can also correct astigmatism that is present prior to surgery. These lenses also have one focal point at either distance or near depending on a patient’s preference.
Extended depth of focus (EDOF) and multifocal lenses cannot only address any nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, but they can also provide a range of vision from distance to near. This greatly decreases a person’s dependence on glasses after cataract surgery.
Does Cataract Surgery Hurt?
Cataract surgery does not hurt. Numbing medications are applied to the eye to prevent patients from feeling any pain during the surgery. Patients will also receive some medication to relax them prior going into the operating room. This allows patients to have a pleasant experience on the day of their surgery.
Is Cataract Surgery Safe?
Yes. All surgery entails risk, but the incidence of any serious complication with cataract surgery is less than 1%. Patients use antibiotics to prevent infection and anti-inflammatory medications to treat the swelling and inflammation that occurs with any surgery.