Cataract Removal

 Ophthalmologist_with_patient
Overview

Each year more than 60% of adults age 60 or older will show signs of cataracts, a clouding of the eye's natural lens. Symptoms may include poor reading vision, poor night vision, light seems more glaring than before, or colors appear less bright.

If you suffer from these symptoms, call our office for a simple screening exam.

Services Description

The Eye Clinic at Valley Medical Center has the most advanced technology available in its state-of-the-art facility. Our team is experienced and trained to perform the most technologically advanced medical and surgical eye procedures, including the removal of cataracts and the insertion of intraocular lenses. Cataract surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis and is one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine.

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the natural human lens. The lens is the part of your eye that focuses light onto the retina to produce clear images. It consists mainly of protein. If the protein in one's human lens denatures over time, it becomes cloudy and is called a "cataract."

One example of denaturing protein would be in "hard boiling" an egg. As the clear liquid (protein) of the egg is heated it denatures and becomes a white solid.

The human lens protein within the eye gradually denatures over years and first gets less flexible. By the age of 40 or so the lens is no longer able to flex to completely focus images for near, so we begin wearing reading glasses for close vision. At this age, however, the lens is usually still visually clear.

When Do Cataracts Occur?

Cataracts are a normal part of the aging process, the early signs of which may be noted as early as age 50. It has been said that if everyone lived to age 200 we all would need cataract removal. Some folks get cataracts earlier than others. Most cataracts progress slowly, and are not visually significant; until approximately age 65 or older. Cataracts can come on sooner with certain systemic diseases such as diabetes, or certain occupations, like glass blowers requiring one to stare at UV light all day at work.

When cataracts get more advanced they start to decrease the light's ability to pass efficiently through the lens, causing a decrease in visual clarity. They usually form slowly and are associated with no pain, redness, or tearing.

When Do I Worry About It?

A cataract is not significant, however, until it interferes with vision. If a cataract becomes large or dense, it usually can be removed by surgery, but some stay small and don't change one's eyesight much in the course of a lifetime.

While cataracts result in diminished acuity because of the opacification of the lens, they do not affect the field of vision, but these people have more difficulty seeing in poorly lit environments due to a decrease in contrast sensitivity. Many people with cataracts experience increased sensitivity to light and glare. Reading material appears faded or hazy and is more difficult to read in dim lighting. Patients sometimes also notice halos around streetlights or headlights at night. People frequently mention an overall sensitivity to glare, especially at night, such as the reflection of light from metal on a car or pavement, or fluorescent ceiling lights. Colors appear faded or washed out and a change in the patient's eyeglass prescription may not improve visual clarity. During the day, patients with cataracts may notice that they are morelight sensitive, but sunglasses only appear to reduce vision.

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is generally very safe, has a high success rate, and is one of the most common surgeries performed in the U.S. It is estimated that 95% of patients experience improved vision after surgery, provided there are no other eye conditions or diseases present. Approximately 5% of surgery cases result in minor complications.

During a cataract surgery, the surgeon removes the cloudy natural lens of the eye and, in most cases, replaces it with a clear silicone or acrylic lens. This implant is actually a very small prescription lens placed inside the eye that will improve the quality of distance vision for most patients, although reading glasses are almost always still needed.

More Information

For more information on Cataract Removal, click here for our Patient Info page with informative links.