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What is a cataract?
Many people think that a cataract is a film growing over the eye, this is incorrect. A cataract is opacification or clouding of the lens of the eye. Think of it as a dirty “window” in the eye, one which you can not clean. The clouding may be uniform or partially clouded and scatter light. Cataracts that scatter light tend to cause more visual difficulty in bright lights or driving. In general, the denser or cloudier the cataract, the more blurry vision becomes. Cataract surgery consists of removing the clouded lens, “dirty window” and replacing it with a clear new intraocular lens. The new acrylic or silicon lens has a long-standing history of biocompatibility with the body. The intraocular lens is measured specifically for each patient’s eye and their desired level of corrected vision. Advanced technology lenses now make it possible to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and the need for reading glasses!
When Should a Cataract Be Removed?
There are two reasons to remove a cataract. The cataract is interfering with quality of life, e.g., driving is compromised, reading is difficult, daily tasks such as walking are difficult. A recent study showed that seniors with cataracts were twice as likely to be involved in an accident that results in a fatality than patients who have had their cataracts removed. Thus, if you drive and your cataract either causes a visual loss of 20/40 or worse; and/or significant glare we suggest that the cataract be removed.
The only other reason to remove a cataract is that the doctor can not get a good view of the back of the eye. This is important in diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes, and/or macular degeneration. Medically it doesn’t make much difference when you take out the clouded cataract. However, it should also be kept in mind that it is surgically easier to remove a softer, less dense cataract than one that has become overly dense and clouded. Thus, the complication rate is less with an earlier cataract.
What Happens if I Wait to Remove the Cataract?
Time is on your side. Cataracts generally progress slowly. Some take as long as 25 years from beginning until maturity while others a couple of months. The average is over years. We really don’t know what makes cataracts develop or how to slow down cataract progression.
Is a Laser Used to Remove a Cataract?
Yes. Dr. Spencer specializes in the latest surgical and technological advancements. For patients that elect to undergo their cataract surgery with the Femtosecond Laser, Dr. Spencer will use the ultra precision of laser guided incisions to deliver a custom surgical experience designed to yield the best vision possible.
Will My Cataract Grow Back?
No. However, sometime in the future the lens capsule may opacify and the patient will think that a new cataract has developed. Only the thin shell of the former lens has clouded up. This can be opened with an in-office laser.
Will I Need Glasses after Cataract Surgery?
Depends. At Iworks Laser & Vision Center we have several of the latest generation Multifocal Lens Implants to provide uninterrupted distance and near vision. These new technology lens implants are an excellent choice for individuals wanting Full-Vision without glasses. There are also new lens implants called Toric Intraocular lenses that can reduce or even eliminate Astigmatism errors in your vision. Dr. Spencer and his staff will examine and measure your eyes to help you determine which lens is best for you.
Are All Surgeons the Same?
Though the majority of patients obtain a good result with most surgeons. The better surgeons are able to perform surgery very quickly and with the least discomfort. Dr. Spencer’s technique utilizes the latest in surgical equipment to deliver a painless experience in a relaxing Outpatient Center. The result is quicker healing with less long term complications. Dr. Spencer has been a leader in Advanced Technology Lens placement and has the experience necessary to make your cataract surgery a success!