A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens inside your eye. This process occurs slowly over time. The lens, located behind the colored iris, works just like the lens of a camera, focusing light on the retina that sends images to the brain. The lens can become so clouded as it develops into a cataract that it prevents light and images from clearly reaching the retina. A cataract can be the reason sharp objects become blurred, bright colors become dull, or seeing at night becomes more difficult. It may also be why your reading glasses or bifocals no longer seem to be effective.
Without treatment, cataracts can cause blindness. Early signs of cataracts can include:
- Blurred vision
- Faded or dull colors
- Poor night vision
- Sensitivity to light
Vision with cataracts has been described as seeing life through old, cloudy film. A cataract, however, is not a film over the eye, and neither diet nor lasers will make it go away. A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens inside your eye. This lens can become so clouded that it prevents light and images from reaching your retina and can drastically reduce the quality of your vision.
Cataracts are so common that they affect many people over the age of 50, and almost 50% of those beyond age 60 suffer from cataract symptoms.
About cataract surgery
Cataract removal surgery means removing your clouded lens. It is one of the safest, most common and most effective surgical procedures done in the United States. It is estimated that more than 3 million cataract surgeries are performed each year in our country.
With today’s advanced technology and surgical techniques, cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. Most people are in an ambulatory surgery setting for about 3 hours; the operation itself takes about 20 minutes.
During cataract surgery a patient receives light intravenous sedation, and does not have to be asleep or receive injections around the eye.
All patients at the Mercyhealth Eye Center are offered intraocular incisions and cataract fragmentation with the LensAR® femtosecond laser. The laser incisions are painless and precise.
They add a significant degree of safety and allow the most accurate visual recovery.
Following the laser procedure, the cataract particles are removed with an instrument using ultrasound energy. The exact implant power is then confirmed with our ORA system and an artificial lens is then placed inside the eye. There are several types of lens implants; Mercyhealth Eye Center surgeons are very experienced in implanting premium lenses that offer spectacle-free vision.
Once the new lens has been placed where the natural lens was, the openings to the inside of the eye will seal themselves without the need for stitches.
Recovering from cataract surgery is generally quick with excellent vision returning within hours. Within a week, a full range of vision is usually obtained and full activity is restored. Eyedrops are necessary for at least 6 weeks after surgery.