Cataracts are the clouding of the natural lens of the eye. People who suffer from cataracts often experience a blurring or dimming of vision, which can dramatically affect their quality of life. Cataracts can also cause glare, loss of depth perception, halos around lights at night, and difficulty reading or driving. In severe cases, cataracts may cause pain, redness, discomfort, and even blindness. They often occur in older adults, although they can affect the vision of anyone, at any age.
The cause of cataracts remains uncertain; however, there are certain risk factors associated with cataracts, including age (most Americans over the age of 60 have cataracts), medical conditions (such as diabetes), injury to the eye, ultraviolet radiation (sunlight), oral steroids or other medications, and smoking. Our team can help you learn more about what increases your risk for cataracts.
What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
There are several symptoms associated with cataracts, including:
- Cloudy or fuzzy vision
- Difficulty driving at night because headlights are too bright
- Problems with glare from lamps or the sun (halos)
- Frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription
- Double vision
- Changes in the perception of colors
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms of cataracts, you should contact us at our offices located in Long Island immediately for a comprehensive eye care consultation. If you think that you have cataracts, only an eye care professional can diagnose you. Early diagnosis of cataracts is key when determining if a patient needs cataract surgery.
How are Cataracts Treated?
When cataracts are detected early, vision may often be improved with corrective lenses. If these measures do not help, surgical removal of the cataract may be recommended. If left untreated, the cataract may continue to grow. The doctors at SightMD perform advanced cataract surgery. Because of advanced technology, our cataract procedure typically takes about 10 to 20 minutes, and patients return to the comfort of their home the very same day!
The most common cataract surgery technique is phacoemulsification or “phaco.” During this procedure, which is performed with a sedative and a topical anesthetic, a small incision is made at the edge of the cornea. Next, a small probe is inserted through the opening in the cornea and the cataract is broken up and gently suctioned out. Once the damaged lens is removed, an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted. Stitches are rarely needed to close the incision, so there is less discomfort and faster recovery of vision than with other surgical techniques. In addition to traditional cataract surgery, SightMD can facilitate cataract surgery in special clinical settings and for post-LASIK patients.
Your vision may be blurry following surgery, but many patients can return to life’s activities almost immediately. It is important to schedule follow-up visits with us so we can evaluate your progress. For the best results, cataract surgery is only performed on one eye at a time. In most cases, you will have cataract surgery on the first eye and then a few weeks later, you will have cataract surgery on the other eye.
Recovery is much easier and safer if patients don’t have to worry about both eyes healing at the same time. Patients are also much less likely to suffer an injury or hurt themselves if only one eye is performed on at a time.
Recovering After Cataract Surgery
Like any surgical procedure, there is a recovery period associated with cataract surgery at SightMD. Since it is performed one eye at a time, it may take several weeks before your eyes feel normal after the procedure.
This is normal. You may experience distorted vision as your eyes get used to the artificial lens put in the eye. It may take up to a month before your eyes are completely adjusted. While recovering, you should do your best to keep water out of your eyes.
Water is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow. When showering, do your best to keep water out of your eyes by keeping them closed. You should also avoid any strenuous activities that may increase your eye pressure.
This includes intense exercising, bending over at the waist, and any contact sports, at least for the first two weeks. Your doctor at SightMD will give you a full list of instructions on how best to begin the recovery process after cataract surgery.