A cataract is a common condition that causes a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, and affects millions of people each year, including more than half of all Americans over the age of 65. Cloudiness develops as a result of a buildup of protein in the lens.
Cataracts cause a progressive, painless loss of vision. The lens clouds naturally as we age, causing people over the age of 65 to see a gradual reduction of vision. However, cataracts are not considered part of the natural aging process and are a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. The exact cause of cataracts is unknown, although it may be a result of injury, certain medications, illnesses (such as diabetes), prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light and smoking.
Your doctor may perform a series of tests in order to diagnose a cataract. A dilated eye exam will be performed to test the vision and to examine the condition of the lens and other parts of the eye. Your doctor may also perform tonometry, a procedure that measures the pressure in the eye.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Patients with cataracts often do not experience any symptoms when the condition first develops. Cataracts will continue to progress with no apparent pain, although patients may experience:
- Blurred or hazy vision
- Double vision
- Poor vision in bright light
- Seeing halos around lights
- Poor vision at night
- Yellowish tinged vision
- Frequent changes in eyeglasses or contact lens prescription
Treatment of Cataracts
If visual impairment begins to interfere with your ability to read, work or do the things you enjoy, you may want to consider cataract surgery to restore your vision. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the US, and can be performed quickly and easily with a success rate of over 90 percent and a minimal risk of complications.
After the cloudy lens has been removed, a new artificial lens, or IOL, is implanted in the eye. We utilize state of the art techniques to remove cataracts, and offer several choices in modern intraocular lens implant technology. Dr Semel will recommend the best implant and procedure for you based on your lifestyle preferences.
Catalys Precision Laser System
Dr Semel uses the Catalys Precision Laser System to remove cataracts more safely and to improve vision without glasses after cataract surgery. While traditional methods to remove cataracts are safe and highly successful, the laser adds additional precision and refinement to the procedure.
With the laser approach to cataract surgery, the surgeon creates a precise surgical plan with a sophisticated 3-D image of the eye called an OCT (optical coherence tomography). Laser can optimize the cataract incision to a specific location, depth and length in all planes, minimizing wound complications.
Laser can also optimize capsulotomy, where the front portion of the lens capsule, a very thin and very clear tissue surrounding the natural lens, is removed to gain access to the lens for its gentle removal. The laser, by softening the cataract and breaking it up into smaller segments, uses less energy making the procedure safer and reducing complications.
Finally the laser can reshape the cornea to correct for astigmatism resulting in improved and customized vision after the procedure.
Multifocal Lens Implants
We offer the choice of several different FDA approved lens implant options to reduce your dependency on spectacles. If you are a candidate, Dr Semel can discuss with you the pros and cons of the Tecnis Symfony and Tecnis Multifocal lenses, each of which can be tailored to your lifestyle preference to enhance your functionality.