Understanding cataracts and how the eye works. The lens inside the eye works much like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina for clear vision. It also adjusts the eye’s focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away. The lens is mostly made of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and allows light to pass through it.
As we age some of the protein may mass together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract, and over time, it may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see. Today cataracts are the leading cause of visual loss in adults 55 and older.
Aging eye is the common cause of cataract. Other common factors include; Exposure to too much sun, particularly ultraviolet (UV) rays, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, smoking, prolonged use of corticosteroid medications, smoking, statin medicines used to reduce cholesterol, previous eye injury, and previous eye surgery.
Cataract surgery is suggested if the patient loses the ability to perform necessary activities of everyday life, such as driving, reading, or looking at computer or video screens, even with glasses, and there is the expectation that vision will improve because of the surgery.
Cataract removal is one of the most common operations performed in the United States. It also is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery.
Cataract surgery involves outpatient procedure with generally little discomfort. Since the lens of the eye is necessary to accurately focus light onto the retinal surface and removal of the cataract involves removal of the lens, modern cataract surgery combines removal of the lens and placement of a new artificial lens into the eye. Measurements for the size, shape, and power of this lens will be taken prior to the surgery so that the lens can be available at the time of surgery.
An intraocular lens implant is an artificial lens placed inside the eye that replaces the focusing power of a natural lens that is surgically removed. Today patients have many options in choosing an advanced lens to fit their individual lifestyle.
Some patients see very well the day after cataract surgery. Other patients see well a few days after surgery, and still others may need a full month to reach their maximum vision improvement.
You’ll usually see your eye doctor a day or two after your surgery, the following week, and then again after about a month to monitor healing.
It’s normal to feel itching and mild discomfort for a couple of days after surgery. Avoid rubbing or pushing on your eye. You will need to wear an eye patch or protective shield the day of surgery.
Your doctor will prescribe eye drops or other medication to prevent infection, reduce inflammation and control eye pressure. After a couple of days, most of the discomfort should disappear.
Griffin Eye Center, Surgeon, Neil B. Griffin, M.D., specializes in cataract and LASIK and surgery. Dr. Griffin is board certified, fellowship trained in cornea and external disease and was named one of the top cataract surgeons in the US by Precision Eye Center. Dr. Griffin and his highly experienced staff offer a consultation to help you decide which cataract procedure and ocular lenses fit your unique lifestyle.