A cataract is a common condition that causes a clouding of the eye's natural lens, and affects millions of people each year, including more than half of all Americans over the age of 65.
Cataracts cause a progressive, painless loss of vision. The lens clouds naturally as we age, causing people over the age of 65 to see a gradual reduction of vision. The exact cause of cataracts is unknown, although it may be a result of injury, certain medications, illnesses (such as diabetes), prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light and smoking.
Your doctor may perform a series of tests in order to diagnose a cataract. Vision will be tested along with glare, to approximate vision changes under normal lighting conditions. A dilated eye exam will be performed to examine the condition of the lens and other parts of the eye. Your doctor may also perform tonometry, a procedure that measures the pressure in the eye.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Patients with cataracts often do not experience any symptoms when the condition first develops. Cataracts will continue to progress with no apparent pain, and patients may begin to experience:
- Blurred or hazy vision
- Double vision
- Poor vision in bright light
- Seeing halos around lights
- Poor vision at night
- Yellowish tinged vision
- Frequent changes in eyeglasses or contact lens prescription
- More difficulty with glare when driving
- Difficulty with daily activities including watching television or seeing small print.
Treatment of Cataracts
If visual impairment begins to interfere with your ability to read, work or do the things you enjoy, you may want to consider cataract surgery to restore your vision. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the United States, and can be performed quickly and easily with a success rate of over 90 percent and a minimal risk of complications.
Dr. Mallon combines the latest technology with the most advanced surgical techniques including:
- Clear Corneal Incisions
- Eyedrop Anesthesia
In addition, Dr. Mallon does cataract surgery without any needles. There is no need for IV sedation, stitches, or an eye patch after surgery. Patients are able to resume most normal activities immediately after surgery. Astigmatism correction may also be accomplished at the time of cataract removal.
The advanced technology includes pre-operative measurements with immersion ultrasound and the Zeiss IOL master. Cataract surgery is done using the Sovereign Compact phacoemulsifier with Whitestar. Whitestar is the latest advancement in ultrasound technology and dramatically reduces the amount of ultrasound energy required to remove a cataract. By using less energy the procedure is safer, more efficient, and results in a quicker recovery.
Premium Lens Implants
During cataract surgery, artificial lenses are implanted in the eye to replace the cloudy natural lenses. These artificial lenses, known as intraocular lenses (IOLs), were once only able to correct distance vision, leaving patients dependent on eyeglasses or contact lenses for near vision. Many cataract patients, in addition to suffering from either nearsightedness or farsightedness, also suffer from presbyopia, natural changes to the eyes that occur as we age.
Before premium lenses, patients were unable to see clearly at both near and far distances without the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Early lens implants were monofocal, meaning that they had only one focal point and could not adjust to varying distances.
New advances in technology have allowed for the development of multifocal IOLs, which let patients see clearly at all distances, and can even correct astigmatism as well. Premium lens implants are ideal for cataract patients who are also suffering from presbyopia and want a replacement lens that provides a full range of clear vision.
There are several different types of premium lens implants available for cataract patients. Your doctor will work with you to decide which lens is best for your individual eyes to help you enjoy long-lasting, clear vision at near, intermediate and far distances. To speak with one of our doctors and discuss your options for cataract replacement lenses, please call us today to schedule a consultation.
The ReZoom multifocal intraocular lens (IOL) helps patients focus clearly on objects at a range of distances and in varied light conditions, so they can be free of glasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery. The ReZoom lens features five spherical segments with smooth transitions in between so the eyes focus seamlessly from one distance to the next. The center of the lens is optimized for bright light and distance vision, while the fourth zone supports near-vision in a variety of light conditions, and the outermost zone accommodates for low-light distance vision (such as when driving at night). The ReZoom is also specially designed to reduce internal reflections and minimize glare. 92% of patients with ReZoom implants never or only occasionally needed glasses following the procedure.
ReSTOR, short for AcrySof® ReSTOR® Apodized Diffractive Optic Posterior Intraocular Lens, replaces the natural lens removed because of cataracts. It has a patented optic design that combines apodized diffraction and refraction technologies for quality vision at both near and far distances. The apodized diffractive optic design gives it the ability to focus light correctly on the retina for images at various distances without mechanical movement of the lens.
Apodization is the gradual reduction or blending of the diffractive steps from the center to the outside edge of a lens; it creates a smooth transition of light between the distant, intermediate, and near focal points. Diffraction involves the bending or spreading of light to multiple focal points as it passes through the lens. The center of the ReSTOR lens surface consists of an apodized diffractive optic. This means that the series of tiny steps in the center area work together to focus light for near through distant vision.
Refraction involves the redirection of light passing through the lens to focus on the retina. The refractive region of the ReSTOR lens bends light to a focal point on the retina. This outer region - surrounding the apodized diffraction center - focuses light for distant vision.
Crystalens is a new cataract replacement lens (IOL) that works naturally with muscles in the eye to retain the eye’s ability to “accommodate” – shift focus between nearby and distant objects – after cataract surgery. It is the first FDA-approved accommodating lens. With other IOLs, patients lose this ability and require corrective measures such as glasses or contact lenses. With Crystalens can treat both cataracts and presbyopia.
Unlike rigid lenses, the flexible silicone Crystalens features hinges that allow it to move with the eye’s muscles and accommodate seamlessly, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for vision correction.
The Crystalens is implanted using the same, nearly risk-free cataract surgery techniques as with other IOLs.
Most people with cataracts or who have had corneal refractive surgery and retained good eye health are acceptable candidates for Crystalens implantation, but those who have already had cataract surgery are not. People with eye health problems such as chronic infections or diabetes should check with their doctors about eligibility.
The Center for Advanced Eye Care is a certifed Crystalens Center of Excellence.
Toric IOLs are specially designed for patients with astigmatism. Traditionally, surgical correction of astigmatism required making a series of small incisions (called LRIs) around the cornea to make it more spherical instead of football-shaped. Implanting toric IOLs often improves vision due to astigmatism without the need for these extra incisions, and also allows patients to enjoy a faster, more comfortable recovery. Visit the Alcon Acrysof Toric website for more information.