Have you been told you have a cataract? Want to know more about your treatment options? The experienced cataract surgeons at Raleigh Ophthalmology have performed thousands of cataract surgeries and are excited to help you achieve better vision!
At your initial consult, you will meet with your cataract surgeon who will assess the severity of your cataracts and will discuss with you how your vision is affecting your quality of life and your activities of daily living. This will help your surgeon determine if you are a candidate for cataract surgery and how the surgery can be customized to meet your specific needs. At Raleigh Ophthalmology, we offer excited to offer the latest, most state-of-the-art treatment options to our patients. Your cataract surgeon will discuss with you the type of technology and lens implant options that might best suit your needs.
What is a Cataract?
Your eye works a lot like a camera. Light rays focus through your lens onto the retina at the back of the eye. Similar to photographic film, the retina allows the image to be “seen” and interpreted by the brain. Over time, the lens of our eye can become cloudy, preventing light rays from passing clearly through the lens. The loss of transparency of the lens may be so mild that vision is barely affected, or it can be so severe that no shapes or movements are seen. When the lens becomes cloudy enough to obstruct vision to any significant degree, it is called a cataract.
What Causes Cataracts?
Aging is the most common cause of cataracts. Cataracts are very common, affecting roughly 60% of people over the age of 60. Other causes include trauma, medications such as steroids, systemic diseases such as diabetes, and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light. Sometimes babies can be born with cataracts, called congenital cataracts.
As you age, the lenses in your eyes become less flexible, cloudy and thicker. Age-related changes cause tissues within the lens to break down and clump together, clouding small areas within the lens. As the cataract continues to develop, the clouding becomes denser and involves a larger portion of the lens surface.
Cataracts usually develop in both eyes. However, cataracts are usually not completely symmetrical, as the cataract in one eye may be more advanced than the other. There are also different types of cataracts that can have different appearances and may be caused by reasons other than typical aging.
What Are Cataract Symptoms?
Cataracts usually form slowly and cause few symptoms until they noticeably disturb or block light.
Cataract Symptoms can include:
- Vision that is cloudy, blurry, foggy, or filmy
- Changes in color saturation (fading or yellowing)
- Glare or halos, particularly at night
- Double vision (like a superimposed image)
- Sudden or frequent changes in the strength of glasses prescription
Cataract surgery is a very successful operation and generally has excellent outcomes with improvement in the quality of vision. One and a half million people have this procedure every year and the vast majority of patients have a successful result. As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur during or after surgery and some are severe enough to limit vision. In most cases, vision, as well as the quality of life, improve significantly with this relatively quick and painless outpatient procedure.
Standard vs. Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery
What is right for you?
Are you planning on having cataract surgery? If so, there are two types of surgical procedures for you to pick from Standard and Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery. Here are a few things that you should know about both kinds of cataract surgery. Set up an appointment today to talk to one of our ophthalmologists to decide which solution will best fit you.
Traditional cataract surgery
A small blade is used to create several small incisions in the cornea in order to gain access to the cataract. Next, a small opening is made into the “shell” or capsule that holds the cataract in place just behind the colored part of your eye, the iris. Ultrasound or “phacoemulsification” technology is then used to break the cataract into small pieces, which are then removed from the eye.
Laser-assisted cataract surgery
Certain steps of the surgery that were once performed by hand are now automated by laser technology. Laser technology using the LenSx machine can allow for much greater precision and reliability during these steps of the procedure. Because the laser breaks up the cataract into small pieces, much less ultrasound energy is typically used to remove the cataract when compared to traditional cataract surgery, which can help protect other delicate structures of the eye including the cornea. Special incisions called limbal relaxing incisions (LRI) can also be made using the laser, which can reduce more astigmatism than traditional cataract surgery.
Which surgical procedure has a shorter recovery time?
The recovery time for traditional and laser-assisted cataract surgery are both the same. Some patients will notice they can see clearly almost immediately, while others will start to notice clearer vision within a week or two. No matter which surgical option you go with it will take about 3 months to fully recover from cataract surgery.
What do you want from cataract surgery?
For some people, replacing their cloudy lens with a clear implant and having to wear glasses for some activities is acceptable. Others do not want to rely on glasses at all and want the best vision possible. Your vision expectations can help you and your ophthalmologist decide which solution is best for you.
What are the advantages of LenSx vs. traditional cataract surgery?
- Precision: LenSx automates some of the most crucial steps of cataract surgery
- Control: LenSx offers real-time images to guide the surgeon for proper alignment
- Less ultrasound energy used to remove the cataract
- Better astigmatism management than traditional methods
Call 919.782.5400 to schedule an appointment and find out if you are a candidate for cataract surgery.