Cataract Surgery

What is a Cataract?

In the eye, the natural lens focuses light rays on the retina to produce an image. At birth, the lens is clear. With time, the lens starts to get cloudy and obstruct light. This cloudy lens is known as a cataract and can diminish vision. Cataracts are diagnosed during a complete eye exam by your physician at Physicians Eye Care Center. Common symptoms of cataracts include the following:

-Blurry Vision
-Difficulty Driving
-Glare Symptoms and Haloes Around Lights
-Difficulty Reading or Watching Television
-Perception that colors are dull or faded
-Needing frequent changes in glasses prescription

Fortunately, cataract treatments and surgery are available to restore clear vision. The cloudy lens is replaced with a clear intraocular lens that can also reduce or eliminate their need for glasses or contacts following the procedure.

When is it time to have cataract surgery?

With mild cataracts, there is often a shift in your glasses prescription and vision can be improved with a glasses adjustment. At some point, changes in the glasses prescription will not be sufficient to improve your vision as the cataract becomes more significant. The only effective treatment is to remove the cloudy lens. Fortunately, modern cataract surgery is safe and effective resulting in improved vision and quality of life.

Cataract Surgery

Our cataract surgeons at Physicians Eye Care Center continue to stay abreast of latest developments in technology in order to provide our patients with the best possible care. We offer both laser-assisted cataract surgery and traditional cataract surgery.

The following will give you a general idea of what to expect from the cataract surgery procedure. If you would like more information, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced ophthalmologists, please contact Physicians Eye Care Center today.

Pre-Operative Care and Preparation

Surgery is done on an outpatient basis, at Snowden River Surgical Center. You will be asked to skip breakfast, but generally should take any medications you normally take in the morning. These may be taken with a small amount of water. When you arrive for surgery, you will be given eye drops and a mild intravenous sedative to help you relax. A local anesthetic will numb your eye.

The Procedure

The actual surgery time is very brief, and can typically be completed in less than 20 minutes. First, under an operating microscope, a small incision is made in the cornea. The anterior capsule is removed to access the cataract. Then, ultrasound waves are used to break the lens into pieces, and vacuum tubing removes the emulsified cataract. After this is accomplished, an intraocular lens (IOL) can be inserted to correct existing refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Surgeons at Physicians Eye Care Center now offer laser-assisted cataract surgery as well. In laser-assisted surgery, several portions of the procedure are performed using a laser that enhances precision. (See below section entitled “Laser Cataract Surgery”)

 

Post-Operative Care and Recovery

After surgery is completed, your doctor may place a shield over your eye. After a short stay in the outpatient recovery area, you will be ready to go home. During the first four weeks, medicated eye drops will be used to assist in the healing process. You will then have a follow-up appointment to determine if you will require prescription lenses, such as reading glasses. Our cataract surgeon will also monitor your recovery to ensure no complications arise. As with any type of surgery, there are some risks involved in cataract surgery. However, complications occur in far less than 1% of all cataract surgery patients who do not have any pre-existing conditions, and most complications associated with cataract surgery are treatable. Your surgeon will provide you with more detailed information about the risks associated with cataract surgery during the consultation process.

YAG Capsulotomy

In some eyes, over the course of time after cataract surgery, the lens capsule (the part of the eye that holds the lens in place) sometimes becomes cloudy This can occur several months or years after the original cataract operation. If the cloudy capsule blurs your vision, your ophthalmologist can perform a second surgery using a laser. During the second procedure, called a posterior capsulotomy, a laser is used to make an opening in the cloudy lens capsule, restoring normal vision. Unlike the original cataract surgery, there are no external openings made in the eye, so there is no restriction on your activity and no special eye drops needed after this office procedure.

Laser Cataract Surgery

Though traditional cataract surgery has saved the eyesight of millions of people, laser cataract surgery adds additional accuracy and predictability to the process. Physicians Eye Care Center is proud to offer this innovative treatment. Our eye doctors use the FDA-approved LenSx® Laser System.

LenSx® Laser System

The LenSx® Laser System is computer-guided and surgeon-controlled. As a testament to its safety and efficacy, it is the most common cataract-laser system used around the world. The benefits of laser cataract surgery using this state-of-the-art technology include:

-Greater surgical precision with a custom-guided laser
-Anterior capsulotomies and astigmatism-reducing incisions are performed without the need for a surgical blade
-Reduces the energy required for cataract removal

While the LenSx® laser allows for a more gentle and precise type of cataract surgery when compared to traditional methods, there are still potential risks during and after the procedure. Our doctors will go over all risks and potential complications from laser cataract surgery and address any concerns you may have.

Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)

During cataract surgery, the inner lens of the eye is fragmented, extracted, and then replaced with an intraocular lens implant (IOL). The lens implant not only takes the place of the natural lens – it can also correct refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism) for improved vision. IOLs are extraordinarily advanced lenses, and many types of IOLs can even be used to enhance the vision of patients without cataracts in an elective procedure called refractive lens exchange.

IOLs from our experienced ophthalmologists at Physicians Eye Care Center have proven to be highly effective components of cataract surgery and can dramatically improve the quality of your eyesight.

Toric IOLs

Astigmatism is a common condition that impairs the vision due to an uneven curvature of the eye. While a standard lens implant placed during cataract surgery can correct for nearsightedness and farsightedness, it cannot correct for astigmatism. A Toric IOL can correct distance vision and astigmatism simultaneously, reducing or eliminating the need for distance glasses or contact lenses.

IOLs for Presbyopia

Multifocal IOLs and Extended-Depth-of-Focus IOLs use advanced technology to provide enhanced near, intermediate and distance vision. Our patients are very happy with the quality of life improvement that these innovative IOLs offer them. Patients can occasionally experience increased glare and halos with both Multifocal and Extended-Depth-of-Focus IOLs. There are now Toric models of Multifocal IOLs that have the ability to correct astigmatism as well.

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Glaucoma Treatment with Cataracts

With the newest advancements in glaucoma technology, our eye surgeons can help slow the progression of glaucoma for cataract surgery patients. There are several additional procedures that our eye surgeons can perform along with your cataract surgery to lower your eye pressure and help treat mild to moderate glaucoma. These procedures are collectively referred to as Micro-Incisional Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS). There can be several advantages of MIGS procedures, including the following:

-Lower intraocular pressure (IOP)
-Less risk compared to other traditional surgical glaucoma procedures
-Reduction in, if not complete elimination of, the use of expensive medication

Below is a list and brief description of MIGS procedures commonly performed by surgeons at Physicians Eye Care Center. Your eye surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits of these procedures as well as which MIGS procedure would be best for you.

Endoscopic Cyclophotocoagulation (ECP)

Endocscopic Cyclophotocoagulation (ECP) is a technology that involves using a laser to treat the fluid producing organ of the eye (the ciliary body) so that the fluid production is more appropriate for your eye and your eye pressure is lower.

CyPass Micro-Stent

The CyPass shunt is a minimally invasive shunt device designed to reduce IOP in adults with mild-to-moderate glaucoma. It’s inserted through the angle (the fluid drainage area of the eye) in conjunction with cataract surgery. The CyPass allows the eye to more effectively drain its fluid so that the eye pressure is lower, thereby decreasing the chances of glaucoma progression.

Kahook Dual Blade

The Kahook Dual Blade is a device used to create a goniotomy – which is an opening in the trabecular meshwork, creating a path through which excess fluid can drain from the eye, which results in an overall decrease in eye pressure.
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Although glaucoma cannot be reversed, MIGS procedures can slow the rate at which the condition advances by lowering intraocular pressure. Patients may be unaware of their glaucoma until it gets worse and starts to impair their vision, which is why routine eye examinations are crucial for early detection and treatment of this common eye condition. During any pre-operative evaluation for a MIGS procedure, your surgeon at Physicians Eye Care will discuss the risks and benefits to each option and will help determine which will be most appropriate for the health of your eyes.

For more information about all of our cataract surgery options at Physicians Eye Care Center please contact us today at 410-644-9515 or 410-964-8285.

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