Cataract Overview in Fredericksburg, VA in Culpeper, VA
Cataracts are part of the natural aging process. A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. Situated just behind the iris and pupil, the natural lens is responsible for helping to focus light and provide clear vision. As we age the lens of our eye progressively changes becoming dense and cloudy. As a result, the light that enters the eye can become scattered or poorly focused. Eventually, this leads to blurry vision that affects the person’s ability to see clearly and function effectively.
Although typically occurring in patients with advancing age, some people develop cataracts at a young age and these can be a result of heredity, trauma, diabetes, and certain medications. Individuals should get regular eye exams and tell their doctor if they are experiencing any symptoms, no matter how mild. Early detection of cataracts is the best way of determining the most effective treatment.
Symptoms of cataracts can vary with each patient, but common signs and symptoms include:
- Cloudy and / or blurry vision
- Double vision
- Halo or glare effects
- White spots over the pupil
- Loss of vision over time
- Problems seeing at night
- Loss of color perception
- Loss of contrast sensitivity (objects appear dull)
When symptoms first appear, your doctor may be able to temporarily alleviate the effects of cataracts and improve your vision by prescribing glasses, stronger bifocals, or other visual aids. However, the cataract will continue to advance leaving surgery as the only option to restore your vision.
Though cataracts are a natural aspect of aging, the good news is they are very treatable. The only effective treatment for a cataract is through surgical intervention. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed procedure in the United States. Anywhere from 2 to 4 million procedures are performed each year. Cataract extraction is the safest and most predictable surgery performed on the human body today. Cataract surgery is a successful and effective way of restoring your vision.
Many people delay having cataract surgery until their vision has significantly deteriorated. While mild effects of cataracts can be temporarily alleviated by prescribing glasses, stronger bifocals, or other visual aids, your vision will continue to worsen over time leaving surgery as the only option to restore your clear vision. If your vision is prohibiting or impairing your ability to perform normal daily living activities, such as driving, reading, sewing, reading your watch / cell phone, or watching television, then it may be time to consider cataract surgery. In general, removing a cataract will always lead to improved vision. However, other eye conditions may affect your visual outcome after surgery. In order to determine the proper timing of surgery and have a complete understanding of the potential benefits and outcome, a comprehensive eye examination is required.
Dr. Jani removes cataracts using micro-incision surgery, which involves making a tiny incision in the eye, so that a slim probe can be used to remove the cataract with ultrasound energy. By the use of ultrasound, through a process called phacoemulsification, the cataract is dissolved, then allowing it to be gently vacuumed from the eye. Once the cataract is surgically removed from the eye, a clear artificial intraocular lens (IOL) used to restore clear vision is inserted through the small incision.
Assuming a healthy eye, the patient can expect a painless procedure that usually takes minutes to perform, with a relatively short recovery time, and excellent post operative vision once the eye has completely healed. This procedure is done one eye at a time with the fellow eye commonly being operated on two weeks later. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and the patient is usually back to normal activities the next day.
There have been many exciting innovations in cataract surgery including advanced surgical techniques and new and improved intraocular lens implants (IOLs). These advances have resulted in faster healing times and better vision after surgery. One of the latest advances in cataract surgery is a new generation of premium IOLs that provide vision for distance, near, and in-between. Prior to multifocal and accommodative implants, most patients required reading glasses or bifocals after cataract surgery. The premium IOL implants used by Dr. Jani are ReZoom™, ReSTOR®, Tecnis, and Crystalens®. After cataract surgery with a premium IOL most patients generally do not require glasses for most activities. Another premium lens technology called the Toric Lens reduces or eliminates astigmatism, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for glasses at a distance.
Read more about premium IOLs in Cataract Technology.
Recovery time from cataract surgery typically varies with each patient. Since cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, you will go home the same day as your surgery, with complete healing taking place over the next several weeks. Dr. Jani will prescribe eye drops and a protective eye shield for your eyes to keep them safe from harm in the days following the procedure. Typically vision is noticeably improved by the next day and continues to improve for several weeks.
For frequently asked questions regarding cataract, please see the Cataract FAQs section. Dr. Jani is a fellowship trained cornea surgeon who has performed thousands of cataract surgeries. Please contact Vista Eye for more information on cataracts, or to schedule an appointment for evaluation of your cataract by calling toll free (888) 393-5264.