Cataracts

Cataracts

A cataract is a loss of transparency of the clear lens in your eye. As we age, chemical changes occur in the less that make it less transparent, preventing light rays from passing clearly through the lens. The loss of transparency may be so mild that vision is barely affected, or it can be so severe that no shapes or movements are seen.

When the lens becomes cloudy enough to obstruct vision to any significant degree, it is called a cataract. Eyeglasses or contact lenses can usually correct slight refractive errors caused by early cataracts but they cannot sharpen your vision if a severe cataract is present.

Cataracts typically develop slowly and progressively causing a gradual loss of vision.
The following are symptoms that you may experience are:

  • Blurry vision
  • Glare, especially at night
  • Decrease in color intensity
  • Double vision
  • Frequent changes in your eyeglasses prescription
  • Sensitivity to light

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The most common cause of cataracts is aging however, trauma, medications such as steroids or systemic diseases such as diabetes can be a cause. Cataract surgery is recommended once the cataract is adversely affecting your vision enough to interfere your quality of life or safety.

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Cataract Surgery

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Cataract surgery is one of the most common outpatient surgeries in the United States. The surgery procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes. It is a relatively painless surgery. Local anesthesia is given to help relax the patient.

With this routine outpatient surgical procedure, Dr. Chen will remove the cataract making a small incision of less than 3mm on the side of the cornea and insert a probe through this opening. This process, called hacoemulsification, is the most widely used type of cataract surgery performed in the United States. The probe emits ultrasonic waves that soften and break up the cloudy lens, which is then suctioned from the eye in small pieces.

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Next, a foldable intraocular lens (IOL) is then placed in a tubular device that is inserted into the same incision. The device then gently ejects the IOL into the space the natural lens previously occupied, where it unfolds. The Dr. Chen then positions the lens with a small forceps to complete the surgery.

Cataract surgery is a very successful operation. One and a half million people have this procedure every year in the United States. As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur during or after surgery and some are severe enough to limit vision. But in most cases, vision and quality of life are improved.

Laser Capsulotomy

Some patients after uncomplicated cataract surgery may develop hazing of their remaining lens capsule. This is called Posterior Capsular Opacification (PCO). This capsule was left behind during the original cataract surgery to hold the lens implant centered behind the pupil, but scar tissue can collect on the inner surface and begin to block vision again. Treatment is performed with a YAG-laser and is a relatively safe and painless procedure that only takes a few minutes. Vision is typically improved within a hours of the procedure.

Specializing in Cataracts and Eyelid Surgery