Cataracts affect the vast majority of people in their 60s, 70s and beyond. There’s nothing we can do to prevent their formation, and while we don’t fully understand why cataracts develop, we are experts in their removal.
Cataract surgery is a safe method of permanent cataract correction. At The Eye Care Team, we will assess your eyes for eye health and determine your specific needs before referring you to a local ophthalmologist for surgery.
Over time, the lens at the very front of your eye ages, just like everything else. A cataract forms when this lens becomes more stiff (affecting your ability to focus and see sharply) and opaque. They can cover a significant portion of your eye and therefore affect much of your visual field, if left untended.
Since the lens of your eye has become less transparent, colours will seem more muted than is normal. Your vision will also become a bit cloudy, like looking through a dirty car windshield; you won’t be blind, but you’ll have a degree of vision impairment. Bright lights – particularly at night – may halo and look a bit distorted, which can be very distracting when driving.
When a cataract is affecting a large part of your vision, it can be removed via a simple, safe surgery. There is no other treatment available as of yet, however with exceptional success rates across the United States, this surgery is one of the most effective relative to any other disease.
It’s true that the exact cause of cataracts is unknown (though we’re hopeful research will find an answer!) however there have been many potential triggers (or risk factors) which can increase your chance of developing them.
This procedure is undergone by 3 million Americans every single year, so we can certainly say it is a tried, tested and verified treatment for cataracts. The process is quite straightforward, and we’ll outline it below to answer your questions.
Prior to the surgery itself, eye drops will be applied which increase the size of your pupil (dilation) and then a local anesthetic applied for the procedure, making you nice and comfortable.
The surgery is quick and simple. High frequency ultrasound waves are used to gently break up the cataract (and the rest of your lens) before being removed by suction. That’s the cataract gone, permanently. An intraocular lens (designed for your eye, of course) is then fitted to replace your natural one. That’s it!
You’ll be given an eye patch immediately, as your eye will be quite sensitive straight after surgery until the dilation dies down. However, the recovery tends to only take a couple of weeks- by this time you should have completely restored, functional vision as if the cataract had never grown.
We’ll do a couple of follow-ups post-op to make sure your eyes are still healthy and your vision is clear. Other than that, cataracts cannot grow on artificial lenses so you’ll never have the problem again.
In theory, cataracts can affect anyone, though it is much more common in older citizens. Around 1 to 15 in every 10,000 children are born with cataracts which accounts for a large number of blindness cases across the world. This condition is rare, and known as congenital cataracts.