Your eye focuses images through a lens inside the eye – like a camera uses a lens to focus. When we are born, the lens is clear and flexible, allowing clear vision with a full-range of focus from near to far. As we age, the lens becomes cloudy and inflexible, causing our vision to blur and our dependence on glasses to read.
A cloudy lens is a cataract. Because of the cataract, images may become blurry. Cataracts may make it progressively more difficult to read, drive, watch TV, perform normal daily activities and blur vision in general. Cataract formation is a normal unavoidable part of the aging process.
Eye with Normal Lens
A healthy, clear lens allows a sharp image to fall on every part of the retina allowing a crisp, clear image to be seen.
Eye with Cataract in Lens
A cloudy lens scatters light, causing a hazy image to be seen.
A cataract usually develops slowly and causes no pain. At first, the cloudiness may affect only a small part of the lens and you may be unaware of any vision loss. Over time, however, as the cataract gets worse, it clouds more of your lens. When significantly less light reaches your retina, your vision becomes impaired, decreasing vision with age:
- Blurred or double vision
- Seeing halos around bright lights
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Vision that worsens in sunlight
- Difficulty distinguishing colors
- Poor depth perception
- Frequent prescription changes for glasses
- Difficulty reading
- Leave the cataract alone and continue to wait until your vision worsens. Cataracts are not like having life-threatening heart disease or cancer. Time is on your side. You can wait and leave your cataract alone. As long as you are not unhappy with your vision, leaving the cataract alone is acceptable and safe. If you choose to defer cataract surgery, your vision will remained blurred and the blur will only worsen as time passes. When your level of frustration with blurred vision is no longer acceptable, then you can choose to have cataract surgery.
- Have cataract surgery to improve your vision. Cataract surgery is indicated when one’s vision is sufficiently blurry to impair one’s ability to see comfortably to perform their usual activities. If you choose to improve your vision through cataract surgery, you have a choice of intraocular lens implant (IOL) that you will receive:
This type of intraocular lens, also known as a monofocal IOL, provides clear vision at one set focal length at distance or near. The distance lenses can provide excellent vision when driving or going to a ballgame, while the near vision lenses can provide good vision for reading or sewing. Unless one eye is set for distance vision and one set for near (monovision), you will probably need glasses for reading or other close-up activities.
When a patient has significant astigmatism, a single vision IOL will not give clear vision at any distance. Patients with astigmatism have corneas that are not round, but rather oblong like a football. Toric IOLs have a unique design that offsets the imbalance of the corneal astigmatism. In this way they can significantly improve distance (or near) vision in these patients who otherwise would need glasses after surgery.
At Advanced Laser Vision and Surgical Institute we offer the highest quality premium Intraocular Lenses (IOL’s) for our patients after their cataract surgery. All of these lenses have extraordinary quality however each lens will suit our patients in a different way. Please review the information below to find which premium lens may best suit your needs.
The ReSTOR® lens uses revolutionary apodized diffractive technology – a series of concentric circular rings which cause light to focus correctly on the retina and allows you to see at distance and near. Clinical studies have shown that 80% of patients did not have to use glasses for any activity after surgery, while only 23% of the control group who received conventional IOLs achieved the same levels of visual acuity.
The Tecnis® lens has the ability to consistently offer patients improved vision at a range of distances, from near, to middle, to far. The Tecnis® Lens is the only wavefront-designed lens with FDA-approved claims for improved functional vision and improved night-driving simulator performance. The vast majority of patients with Tecnis® lenses will no longer need glasses, but some patients may still need glasses on occasion for certain tasks.
Almost all cataract patients today have their cataracts removed using a surgical technique called phacoemulsification. Cataracts typically occur in both eyes, but they are usually treated one at a time, to allow the first eye to recover. There is usually an interval of several weeks or months between each operation, in some cases, longer.
The Cataract Operation:
The operation usually lasts around 10 to 20 minutes. Cataract surgery is done under a local anesthetic which numbs the area. Your anesthesiologist will also give you a sedative, which will make you feel relaxed and possibly drowsy. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, your surgeon will make a tiny incision on the surface of your eye. This incision is usually so small that no stitches are needed.
Dr. Lipsky will use ultrasound energy to break up the cloudy lens (cataract), which can then be removed through a small tube. The lens sits inside a sac of thin tissue called a capsule. This is kept in place to support an artificial replacement lens, which will be inserted through the same incision.
Once the cataract is removed, a new lens must replace it. An artificial lens (the intraocular lens) will be put into your eye. It is folded to help insert it through the tiny incision. The intraocular lens will be unfolded once it is in your eye. The lens is made from plastic or silicone and remains permanently in your eye. These implants come in prescriptions just like eyeglasses and contact lenses. They come as a standard lens or a premium lens.
Once the lens is centered, the Dr. Lipsky verifies that the eye is at a normal pressure and watertight. Under most circumstances, stitches (sutures) are not required to keep the incision sealed. The construction of the tiny surgical opening allows it to self-seal so that suturing is not necessary.
After Cataract Surgery:
You return home the day of surgery with a pair of protective glasses. You will be seen in our office the following day. The first day, the vision is usually blurry and sometimes double; but within a few days, the vision clears. You can usually return to your normal activities within 48 hours, including showering, driving, shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Bending and lifting can be done on a limited basis immediately after surgery. Drops will need to be placed in the eye on a regular basis for three to four weeks after surgery to reduce inflammation. The eye will need to be protected with glasses during the day and a shield at night for the first three days. After one month, the lens for your glasses can be adjusted and your eye is completely healed.
Dr. Lipsky recognizes that patients expect to have great vision following eye surgery with a premium lens implant (ReSTOR® or Tecnis® IOLs). Numerous calculations will be made in order to provide the highest level of accuracy in selecting the particular lens used for your eye. In many cases, lens exchange surgery with premium lens implants will provide excellent vision soon after the lenses are inserted. However, because there can be variability in the healing response for each individual, sometimes the visual outcome may need some minor fine-tuning.
Our refractive package service is included for all premium lens implant patients, and provides a corrective laser procedure (iLASIK or PRK) to enhance the vision to an optimal level in cases where fine tuning of the vision is needed. This service is provided without any additional cost to the patient.
Am I A Candidate?
Several factors such as age, visual demands, eye health, and general health all play a part in determining whether or not you are a proper candidate for refractive surgery.
Candidates must have stable vision, be at least eighteen years old, and should not be pregnant or nursing.
Let’s evaluate your vision and determine the best possible vision correction procedure to meet your unique visual needs…