Being told that you have cataracts is no longer bad news. In fact, it may be an opportunity to see better than ever. In the past, the goal of cataract surgery was to safely restore vision. Today, we can do that and more. In many cases, you can customize your vision to suit your personal situation. Great vision up close, far away, and everywhere in between is possible without glasses or contacts thanks to cataract surgery.
Let’s begin with some basics. A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens in the eye. If left untreated, the lens will continue to go from clear to cloudy until eventually, no light can pass through the eye at all. For the most part, cataracts are just another sign that we are aging. The longer we live the more likely it is that we will develop cataracts. Over 20 million Americans over the age of 40 have cataracts.
Cataracts develop gradually over time. The changes are subtle at first and sometimes unnoticeable. In the early stages, some of the vision loss can be restored with glasses, but this is only a temporary solution.
Some of the signs that you may have cataracts include:
It is important to remember that although these signs are most likely related to cataracts, there are other problems that can produce one or more of them. If you have any changes in your vision it’s a good idea to get a comprehensive eye exam. In fact, if you are over the age of sixty we suggest you have an exam every year. Your doctor will tell you what is best for your unique situation.
Cataracts are removed by a microsurgical procedure performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure is very straight-forward and has been refined and perfected over the past 30 years. During cataract surgery, the surgeon makes a small incision near the cornea and inserts an ultrasonic probe to break up the cataract and remove it. Once the cloudy lens is removed, the surgeon inserts an artificial lens that replaces the focusing power of your natural lens.
One way to think of how this procedure is done is to imagine a peanut M&M. The surgeon makes a small hole in the candy shell and removes the chocolate and the peanut. The peanut (lens) is then replaced with a new one.
Important things to know about cataract surgery:
Today, custom cataract surgery is performed with the aid of a precision femtosecond laser. This high-tech instrument can more accurately make the incisions a surgeon would normally make with a blade. It can also fragment the cataract, making it easier to remove. This is all accomplished with the help of computer guidance and real-time measurements of the eye. The laser, along with special lens implants and surgical techniques, is designed to give you a customized vision and reduce or eliminate the need for glasses.
Once your eye doctor has determined that you have a cataract, he or she can help you customize your visual outcome to suit your personal situation. You can choose how you want to see after cataract surgery.
The first step is to have a cataract evaluation. Your surgeon will explain how we can best achieve your vision goals using Laser-Assisted Cataract Extraction (LACE), precision lens calculations, and customized lens implants. Your visual needs are unique and we will help find a solution that is right for you.
Then – it’s up to you. What do you enjoy doing? Would you like to be able to drive without glasses or see where your golf ball lands? Maybe you would prefer to see your computer more clearly or read a book in dim light without reaching for your reading glasses. Modern cataract surgery gives you a choice.
First and most importantly, we can safely remove your cataract (the old cloudy lens) and replace it with an artificial lens that will restore your vision. This means glasses for some or all of the time. If that’s okay with you, then standard cataract surgery is just the thing.
Precision Guidance Cataract Surgery is a good choice if you want to see clearly at distance without the aid of glasses and you have little or no astigmatism. With this surgery, the power and placement of the lens implant are measured during surgery with the ORA System* after the cataract is removed. This allows for a more accurate calculation of the lens power because the cloudy lens is out of the way.
If you like the idea of clear vision at a distance and you have some astigmatism (irregularly shaped cornea) then Distance HD is the right choice for you. Our goal is great vision at a distance with no glasses. To accomplish this, we combine precise measurements with advanced surgical technology including LACE, ORA, and lenses designed to focus your vision at a distance. This is a great choice if you would enjoy freedom from glasses for most things, but don’t mind wearing them for reading or seeing the computer. If you have higher amounts of astigmatism, then Distance HD Plus is a better choice because you will benefit from a special Toric Lens implant, designed specifically to correct your astigmatism.
More and more people tell us that they don’t like wearing glasses at all. If you are someone who wants to read, work at the computer and drive without depending on glasses then All Clear HD Cataract Surgery is your best choice. Precision surgery, combined with a high tech multifocal lens is designed to allow you to focus close up and far away and everywhere in between without relying on glasses. All Clear HD Cataract Surgery is customized to your lifestyle. For many, this provides better vision than they had before cataracts.
During your visit, our examination will help us learn which options will work best for you. Once we know what will work, our surgical counselor will answer your questions and help you choose the best procedure for your lifestyle.
Now you know that the cataract cloud truly has a silver lining: standard, precision guidance. Distance HD, HD Plus and All Clear HD offer you the chance to see the way you want to see. It’s your choice.