Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in patients over the age of 40 and the principal cause of blindness in the world. Although they are more commonly associated with the older generation, they can affect patients of all ages and have a significant impact on your ability to live a full and active life. Activities such as watching television, reading and driving may become impossible if cataracts are allowed to develop.
Fortunately, cataracts can be treated. There are a variety of different treatment options that may be possible. However, many patients find that the only way to achieve permanent relief from their symptoms and regain their sight is to undergo cataract surgery.
Cataracts are characterized by the clouding of the natural lens of the eye. This is usually clear like glass, but when a patient has cataracts, they will find that the lens clouds over and their vision becomes like looking through frosted glass. Cataracts usually appear in both eyes, but they may not necessarily develop at the same rate. This means that you can have
In the past, patients who had been diagnosed with cataracts were generally advised to wait until the condition was having a substantial impact on their vision before considering surgery. Fortunately, today it is possible to remove a cataract at any stage of the condition and patients routinely have surgery early on before they experience the debilitating symptoms and inconvenience of compromised vision.
Although many patients are concerned about the prospect of surgery, the procedure to remove a cataract is very straightforward and can normally be completed in under 45 minutes. It can also be performed using just a local anesthetic and, if needed, sedation. This means that there is no need to be put under a general anesthetic and have the associated effects and recovery period.
Ahead of your procedure, one of our technicians will place eyedrops into the affected eye. These are used to dilate your pupils which is an essential part of the process. Then we can move on to the next stage in your cataract removal.
The most common surgical technique for removing cataracts is known as phacoemulsification. This involves a small incision being made into the cornea through which a tiny probe is inserted. This emits ultrasound waves that will break down the cataract into lots of little pieces which can then be removed using gentle suction. The remaining pieces of the outer lens of your eye are also removed, and the entire natural lens is replaced with an artificial substitute. This substitute is called an intraocular lens or IOL and is inserted through the incision in your cornea.
In most instances, our surgeons can leave the incision in your cornea to heal naturally. However, if for some reason we have needed to create an unusually large entry point, we may need to use sutures to ensure that it heals correctly.
It can take a number of days for your vision to return after your cataract surgery. As a result, it is recommended that you have someone drive you home and assist you with any day to day tasks until your eyesight is clear once more. For this reason, it is also normally suggested that, if you have cataracts in both eyes, you have surgery on one eye at a time and allow yourself time to recovery in between these procedures. This will help to ensure that you have clear sight in one eye at a time.
In most instances, patients find that their vision is fully restored within 5 days of their cataract removal. If you believe that you may have cataracts and would like to be assessed by our experienced team, or if you would like more information about cataract surgery, get in touch by visiting our optometry offices in Palm Desert, CA or by calling 760-906-8300.
Dr. Shahriari and staff are leaders in Modern iCare Optometry specializing in caring for all your vision needs. We provide the highest level of vision care of all ages. We understand the importance of proper eye care at a young age through all stages of life