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Cataract Surgery

The human eye is similar to a camera. The eye has a lens to properly focus the images at near and distance. As we age, this lens gradually becomes cloudy.  When the cloudiness in the lens begins to decrease our ability to drive or read easily, we diagnose this condition as a cataract. A cataract is not a growth or film on the eye and glasses are unable to correct the blurriness.

Cataract surgery is performed to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear intraocular lens implant. Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the US every year. After surgery, most patients are able to return to their normal activities in a short period of time.

Over the last few years, there have been many advances in cataract surgery that allow for faster recovery and better vision. The standard intraocular lens implant was developed in the 1980’s which, when implanted, allowed patients to see with normal glasses after cataract surgery. Now, there are different implants available that correct astigmatism and near vision for reading.

The TORIC implant is a premium lens that corrects astigmatism. Astigmatism is a common condition caused by the corneal surface being shaped like a football instead of round like a basketball. About 35% of patients have significant astigmatism requiring glasses to correct it. If a standard lens implant is used during surgery in a patient with astigmatism, glasses will be required to correct the astigmatism after surgery. If a TORIC implant is used most patients achieve good distance vision with minimal need for glasses.

The MULTIFOCAL implant is a premium lens that corrects distance as well as near vision. This lens reduces the need for glasses to perform many activities for distance as well as near work. There may be specific activities that require glasses even with the multifocal implant.

The process around cataract surgery has become much easier for patients. Patients choose the date and facility where they want to have the surgery performed. A driver is required to bring the patient to the center.The surgery will be performed using relaxing agents for comfort during surgery. The patient can then go home after about 3 hours at the facility. The driver will then need to bring the patient back to the office within the first 24 hours for a postoperative visit. Initially patients can watch TV and move around there home freely with minimal restrictions. It will be necessary to take drops 3 to 4 times a day.

Cataract surgery is now an operation that enables most patients to experience few problems. Patients are able to return to their normal day to day activities with significantly improved vision relatively quickly. With the premium TORIC and MULTIFOCAL lenses available more patients are able to be glasses independent after surgery than ever before.