14 Mar Eye Cataract
Cataracts are a significant cause of decreased vision worldwide. In its earliest stages, cataracts make you need reading glasses in your 40’s. As the cataract worsens, you start having glare with night driving. The next stage is trouble seeing road signs or reading. Ultimately, the cataract turns white like a marble so that you can only see light.
What is an Eye Cataract?
The lens inside your eye is clear when you are first born, but as you age, the clear lens begins to yellow, causing cataracts. In developed countries, patients can choose to have their cataracts removed in the earlier stages when glare starts to impact daily living activities. In third world countries where access to eye care is more limited, many don’t have their cataracts removed until they are legally blind, if ever.
Eye Cataract Surgery
Eye cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy eye cataract lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens implant called an IOL. These intra ocular lens implants come in a number of different styles and powers. Some of the IOLs give distance vision without glasses, others give both distance and near vision without glasses, and others correct astigmatism. Your eye surgeon will spend time with your to decide which IOL will be the best replacement lens based on your lifestyle and visual needs.
Complications of Eye Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in the world and it is one of the safest. Having said that, it is still a surgery so there can be complications.
Infection is the most feared complication. You could loose some or all vision in an eye from an infection. Fortunately, this complication is rare and we have you start eye drops for cataracts prior to your surgery and then have you use them for the first week to prevent this.
Other complications of cataracts include circumstances like inflammations, IOL target error, PVD (posterior vitreous detachment), astigmatism, wound leak, swelling, high eye pressure, hemorrhage, and retinal detachment.
Recovery from Cataracts
The recovery from cataract is usually painless, quick, and uneventful. Most patients experience only minor eye irritation after the procedure. If it exceeds this minor amount of irritation and is actually painful it is recommended that you contact your cataract surgeon. A scratch on you eye or high pressure inside your eye could cause this more complicated recovery from cataract surgery.
Most can resume work and driving within a few days of surgery. In a normal recovery schedule, I allow my patients to resume exercise and driving within a couple of days afterwards. I ask them to avoid, swimming, hot tubing, and situations where they could get hit in the eye the first week. If the IOL looks secure on the first day after cataract surgery I let them know it is not bending, lifting, exertion, or exercise that could hurt their eye, but trauma that they need to avoid. On rare occasions, I ask for greater caution, as needed.
Timing of Eye Cataract Surgery
The timing of eye cataract surgery depends on a number of factors. You choose to repair your cataracts when they affect your life enough that it is worth it. Those that drive at night a lot tend to need to correct their cataracts at a younger age. Those that can decrease their night driving can often postpone the procedure. More active patients are often more troubled by their cataracts. Those that do not drive have lower visual requirements than drivers and often less troubled by their cataracts.
When you get your procedure between your two eyes is affected by the amount of imbalance you feel when one eye has had cataract surgery. If you are very near or farsighted, you are more likely to be bothered by this imbalance. Having the two cataract surgeries close together minimized the length of time you suffer this imbalance.
How do you Choose a Cataract Surgeon?
Choosing the right cataract surgeon is an important part of ensuring good vision for the rest of your life. Fortunately there are a number of great surgeons in the world and I am blessed to have several partners that are outstanding.
Experience matters with surgery in general and cataract removal in particular. A number of studies show that the more your surgeon has done and the more they do per year, the less complications they have.
Ask you friends who have had eye procedures. Ask you other doctors who they recommend and which cataract eye surgeons have the most experience in your area. If you see an optometrist, they will definitely know whom your should see.
When you meet a potential eye cataract surgeon ask them how many they have done and who they would choose to do their own cataract eye surgery.
Laser Eye Surgery
Your procedure can be done manually, or it can be done with a laser. The laser is more precise and is the ideal way for most patients to achieve their best vision. Ask your eye surgeon about laser eye surgery.
If I can provide any other information about your cataracts please schedule a time to meet with me or post a comment.