Content: Charleston Cataract Surgery Specialists
What are Cataracts?
If you’ve been told that you have cataracts, you’re not alone. Each year, nearly 2 million people undergo successful cataract surgery to restore clear vision. Here at Lowcountry Eye Specialists, our doctors use all of the most advanced technologies that make the procedure safe and comfortable with a fast recovery time.
Cataracts are the leading cause of poor vision in adults. However, the development of cataracts does not have to mean loss of sight. Treatment of cataracts is over 95% successful in restoring good vision.
A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s lens. This lens, which is responsible for focusing an image after it enters the eye, is normally crystal clear. A cloudy lens will block the passage of light through the eye, resulting in cloudy or blurred vision that can only be corrected by replacing this lens.
Symptoms of Cataracts may include:
- Dimming or blurring vision
- Halos or glare around lights
- Double vision
- “Washed out” or dull colors
- Sensation of “film” in one’s vision
- Frequent changing or cleaning of glasses
- Difficulty driving or reading
A cataract usually cannot be viewed from outside of the eye and must be diagnosed during an eye examination. A variety of methods are used to determine the type, size and location of the cataract. The instruments used in this diagnostic process are used to illuminate and magnify the structures of the eye.
If diagnosed, a cataract cannot simply be cleared by medication, eye drops or a change in diet. The only way to restore clear vision is to have the cloudy cataract lens surgically removed, while a replacement lens must then be implanted to see clearly. This artificial lens is implanted in the eye and is known as an intraocular lens implant (IOL). Your eye will not look or feel any different with an IOL in place. There are a variety of IOLs available, some that can even give you distance, intermediate, and near vision without glasses.
Removal of Cloudy Cataract
Insertion of folded IOL
IOL Unfolded & in place
Expected Results from Cataract Surgery
Patients can expect a rapid return to good vision following cataract surgery. Today’s modern surgical techniques and technology have made cataract surgery one of the most successful surgical procedures performed in the United States. However, some patients will need to wear glasses for reading and other activities following the procedure.
The surgery normally takes under 10 minutes and is done with local anesthesia coupled with IV sedation by an anesthesiologist. The eye will take several days to weeks to heal completely. However, most patients are able to return to their normal lives the day after surgery! Returning to an active lifestyle is one of the primary benefits of cataract surgery.
Types of IOLs
With advances in technology, there are several different types of IOL’s available.
- MONOFOCAL- A standard monofocal (or single-vision) IOL clears the cloudiness from the cataract and provides improved vision at one point of focus, usually at distance. However, it does not correct astigmatism. With single-vision implants, there is a high likelihood that you will need glasses after your surgery and have the additional cost of glasses throughout the years.
- TORIC- A Toric® IOL clears the cloudiness from the cataract along with reducing or eliminating astigmatism thus significantly improving your uncorrected distance vision.
- MULTIFOCAL- A multifocal lens, clears the cloudiness from the cataract and is also designed to reduce or eliminate your dependency on glasses by improving your vision near, far, and everything in-between. Based on FDA clinical data, there is an 80% chance you will never have to wear glasses again.
Femtosecond laser assisted cataract surgery (FLACS)
There are two types of cataract surgery, which are both highly successful and generally safe procedures. They include traditional cataract surgery (also known as manual or conventional cataract surgery) and femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (or FLACS for short).
Our doctors focus on providing the best treatment available with an emphasis on personalized care and making sure their patients obtain the best possible visual outcome. Your surgeon will discuss your options with you and help you decide which type of cataract surgery will be best for you. If you have any questions that you would like to discuss before your consultation, please contact us at 843-553-2477.