Years ago you may have thought cataract surgery was just for old people. Your parents or grandparents had cataracts and the family worried about how they would handle the surgery and the outcome. Of course the surgery went just fine, but in many cases they needed a new pair of reading glasses and some still had difficulty with their vision even after cataract surgery.
Times have changed and you, of course, are certainly not old. But if you are having difficulty with your vision, an eye exam might uncover the fact that you now have a cataract. Not only are today’s cataract patients different from decades ago, so is the surgery and the results!
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is defined as a clouding of the normally clear lens inside the eye which affects vision. According the National Eye Institute, cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States.
The lens of the eye is similar to the lens of a camera. This lens focuses light on our retina which sends the image to the brain which give us our vision. If that normally clear lens gets cloudy, much like a dirty window, the vision is distorted or blurred. It can affect many normal activities like reading, driving, or watching television. Patients with cataracts may not notice anything at first, but gradually things become dim or less colorful. Eventually it affects our vision and enjoyment of life.
Cataracts are part of the normal aging process, and the condition cannot be reversed. There are no drops or medications that can treat a cataract. Once it reaches a point where it inhibits your daily activities, the only remedy is to remove it.
How are Cataracts Detected?
An exam by an eye care professional is the only way to know if you have a cataract. At Buda Vision Source, Dr. Kevin Benham will perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine if you have a cataract in one or both eyes. Several tests will be done including:
- A dilated eye exam to look at your retina and optic nerve. During this exam drops are administered to widen your pupils.
- A test to measure the pressure inside your eye. Numbing drops are given so it is completely painless.
- A visual acuity test to measure how well you can see at different distances.
Dr. Benham may also do several other tests to check your general eye health. If a cataract is diagnosed, he will refer you to one of the specialized surgeons nearby since he has a working relationship with a number of professional partners.
What Happens During Cataract Surgery
During cataract surgery the surgeon removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial clear lens. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis and does not require a hospital stay. Typical cataract surgery usually takes less than thirty minutes. Once the surgeon has made a tiny opening, the old cloudy lens is removed. The old lens is broken up by either ultrasound or a special femtosecond laser similar to those used in LASIK surgery. The old lens can then be removed quickly and safely. A new artificial lens is inserted in its place. The IOL or intraocular lens is securely placed in exactly the same position as the original one. Patients do not feel the artificial intraocular lens.
What’s Different Today?
Today’s seniors or baby boomers are quite different than their parents and grandparents. They are living longer, are certainly more active, and are not willing to give up their good vision just because they are getting older.
Technology has kept up with the demand for this active lifestyle. There are many options available for today’s cataract patient. You can actually reduce or eliminate your need for glasses or contacts after cataract surgery by choosing from a selection of intraocular lenses. Discuss with Dr. Benham which kind of IOL is best for you.
Whereas in the past your mother or grandmother might have had to use reading glasses or limit her driving, today you can enjoy life to the fullest after cataract surgery. The choice is yours.
Contact the eye professionals at Buda Vision Care if you suspect you may have a cataract. Dr. Benham will perform a comprehensive eye exam and will diagnose your vision issue whether it is cataracts or something else. If cataract surgery is recommended, you can return to Buda Vision Care for all your follow up post-surgery.
You are today’s cataract patient. Don’t let a cataract interfere with your busy and active life.