FAQs about Cataracts

19410754_m-200x150A significant portion of Dr. Gary Foster’s Colorado ophthalmology practice is devoted to cataract care, and, as such, he fields a variety of questions about the condition. Here, Dr. Foster answers the most commonly asked questions about cataract development, symptoms and treatment.

What age do cataracts tend to develop?

Cataracts are a common age-related development, with most affecting mature adults in their 60s and 70s. While it is possible for younger patients to develop cataracts, it is not typical. Early cataracts are usually due to traumatic eye injury, eye disease, use of steroid medications and diabetes.

Are cataracts painful?

Cataracts generally do not cause significant pain. The only exception is if they remain untreated for a prolonged period of time; at which point the eyes can experience pain and develop sensitivity to light.

Can cataracts be treated with medication?

No, cataracts do not respond to medication. The only way to treat cataracts is to have them surgically removed.

What happens during cataract surgery?

During cataract surgery, the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. The procedural steps are as follows:

The surgeon creates a small incision in the cornea, and uses ultrasound energy to break the natural lens into small pieces. The pieces are removed from the eye and a folded-up artificial lens is inserted through the same incision and positioned over the pupil. The incision is then closed with sutures. Some cataract surgeries involve the use of a laser to replace traditional surgical instruments and enhance the safety, precision and outcomes of the procedure.

How long does cataract surgery last?

The procedure itself takes about 10 minutes, but patients are usually monitored at the surgery center for an additional hour or so. The entire experience takes about two or more hours.

What is an IOL?

An IOL is an intraocular lens that is used to replace the eye’s natural lens during cataract surgery. IOLs are responsible for restoring clear vision and sharp focus at a single distance or multiple distances, depending on the specific type. Dr. Foster offers several types of IOLs, including astigmatism-correcting lenses.

If you or a loved one is experiencing poor vision due to cataracts, and you would like to review the treatment options, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Foster. Call (970) 419-2693 or send us an email today.

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