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Cataract Center



What Are Cataracts?

Like a camera, your eyes have lenses. A cataract occurs when protein clumps in the eye’s lens and makes it cloudy, decreasing your ability to read or see. Cataracts are a condition that worsens over time, not a growth or film on the eye. Glasses can’t correct them.

Cataract Center at Horizon Eye Care

Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people older than 40, and are the main cause of blindness. Types include congenital cataracts (those you are born with or develop as a child); and nuclear, cortical and posterior subcapsular contacts, which affect the center, edges and back of the lens, respectively.

How can you tell if you have cataracts?

A careful exam by a Horizon Eye Care specialist can determine signs or causes of cataracts.

Signs of cataracts

Prominent signs include clouded, blurred or dim vision. Double vision in a single eye is another indicator. Common symptoms of cataracts:

  • Increasing difficulty seeing at night
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Seeing “halos” around lights
  • Frequent changes in your eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Fading or yellowing of colors

Causes of cataracts

Cataracts have many causes, but most often they’re a result of aging and increasing cloudiness of the eye’s lens. Additional causes of cataracts include:

  • Injury or trauma to the eye
  • Diabetes
  • Side effects from medications
  • Past eye surgery
  • Inherited genetic disorders or other health problems

Your options

Treatments

Several different surgical treatments – some that have been developed in the past few years – allow for better vision and faster recovery. From the standard intraocular lens developed in the 1980s to newer IOLs and the technologically advanced LenSx laser-assisted surgery, you have many choices for treating your cataracts. A Horizon Eye Care professional can help determine which procedure is best for you.

Cataract surgery, performed to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear intraocular lens implant, is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the U.S. every year. Preparing for and recovering from surgery has also become easier.

You choose the date and facility where you want to have the surgery, making sure you have a driver to bring you. Surgery is performed using relaxing agents for comfort; you can then go home after about three hours at the facility. Your driver must bring you back to the office within the first 24 hours for a post-operative visit. Initially, you can watch TV and move around your home freely with minimal restrictions. You must take drops three to four times a day. Usually, you’ll be able to return to your normal activities in a short period.

The standard intraocular lens implant allows you to see with normal glasses after cataract surgery. Newer implant options correct astigmatism and near vision for reading, enabling more patients to be glasses-free after surgery than ever before.


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Toric Implant
One of these, 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. About 35 percent of patients have significant astigmatism, requiring glasses to correct it. If you have astigmatism and a standard lens implant is used during surgery, you’ll need glasses to correct the astigmatism after surgery. If a toric implant is used, most patients achieve good distance vision with minimal need for glasses.

Multifocal Implant
Another, the multifocal implant, is a premium lens that corrects distance and near vision. This lens reduces the need for glasses to perform many activities. Some specific activities may require glasses even with the multifocal implant.

A multifocal implant such as the AcrySof IQ ReSTOR intraocular lens – inserted during surgery to replace your eye’s natural lens – can give you clear vision from near to far and everywhere in between. It corrects both cataracts and the condition known as presbyopia, which causes many people to need reading glasses as their eyes age. In a clinical trial, after having the AcrySof IQ ReSTOR IOL implanted in both eyes, 78 percent of patients reported not needing glasses at six months post-op.

Horizon Eye Care also offers AcrySof IQ Toric IOL, which treats pre-existing astigmatism at the same time it corrects cataracts so you don’t have to undergo two separate procedures.


Just announced – New post-surgery lens options

You can learn more about the Tecnis Symfony® Intraocular Lenses here.


LenSx Laser
Of all cataract treatments, the laser-aided LenSx surgery is the most technologically advanced. Horizon Eye Care is excited to be one of the first vision centers to be certified to use this technology in the Charlotte area, available at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center's state-of-the-art outpatient eye surgery center.

With LenSx, a bladeless, high-precision, computer-controlled femtosecond laser allows the surgeon to plan and perform your surgery to exacting, individualized specifications not attainable with other methods. Because a femtosecond laser is cool, it disrupts and cuts corneal tissue – as opposed to a hot laser, which burns tissue.

Although more long-term studies are necessary, early results suggest that the precision, accuracy and safety of the LenSx may be greater than traditional surgery. If it’s used in conjunction with an upgraded lens implant, you may also experience a greatly reduced need for glasses and contact lenses.

LenSx requires an out-of-pocket fee. You will receive specific information on the cost of the procedure during consultation. Financing options through Care Credit are available. Your surgeon will decide on the best technology for your surgery based on your specific condition.

Medications

Cataracts can only be repaired through surgery. In rare cases, adults and children with cataracts may benefit temporarily from eye drops that dilate the pupils and increase the amount of light the eye receives.

Clear Lens Exchange | Refractive Lens Exchange

If you are not yet a candidate for cataract surgery, but wish to improve your vision, please contact your Horizon Eye Care doctor to learn more about Clear Lens Exchange | Refractive Lens Exchange. The goal of this surgery is to reduce the need for reading glasses, bifocals and contact lenses.

View Cataract Videos


Make an appointment

Horizon Eye Care has been a leader in cataract and refractive surgery in the Charlotte area since 1998. Schedule an exam to determine your best treatment. Online, use our Request An Appointment form or Horizon Eye Care’s Patient Portal. Or call 704-365-0555 during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

Doctors

Joseph M. Biber, MDWilliam A. Branner, III, MD
Lewis R. Gaskin, MDJoseph H. Krug, Jr., MD
Mark L. Malton, MDVandana R. Minnal, MD
Gerald B. Rosen, MDHunter S. Stolldorf, MD
Randall N. Stein, MDRoyce R. Syracuse, MD, MBA

What Is A Cataract?

Like a camera, your eyes have lenses. A cataract is a condition in which the lens in your eye can become cloudy and cause changes in your vision. Cataracts can develop from normal aging, an eye injury or certain medications. They cause vision changes such as blurred and/or dulled vision, sensitivity to light and glare and/or ghost images.

Cataract Center at Horizon Eye Care

As a condition, cataracts worsen over time. If left untreated, cataracts begin to interfere with many of the activities that you enjoy. Treatment requires surgery to remove the old, clouded lens and replace it with a new, artificial one to restore your vision.

Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over 40 years of age, and are the main cause of blindness. Types include congenital cataracts (those you are born with or develop as a child); and nuclear, cortical and posterior subcapsular contacts, which affect the center, edges and back of the lens, respectively.

Cataracts have many causes, but most often they’re a result of aging and increasing cloudiness of the eye’s lens. Additional causes of cataracts include:
  • Injury or trauma to the eye
  • Diabetes
  • Side effects from medications
  • Past eye injury
  • Inherited genetic disorders or other health problems
Prominent signs include clouded, blurred or dim vision. Double vision in a single eye is another indicator. Common symptoms of cataracts:
  • Increasing difficulty seeing at night
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Seeing “halos” around lights
  • Frequent changes in your eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Vision is not improved by any glasses prescription
A careful exam by a Horizon Eye Care specialist can determine if, indeed, a patient has cataracts.
At Horizon Eye Care, we value your time and want you to know what to expect for your appointment with us. In order to ensure a smooth check-in process and manage waiting time expectations, please review the information below.

Preparing For Your Cataract Consultation

Your initial cataract consultation will take approximately three hours. Our physicians and technicians will perform a variety of diagnostic tests to gather the specific data needed for your evaluation. The consultation will include a refraction and dilated eye exam. The refraction is a test used to determine your best possible vision. The dilated eye exam will require eye drops to allow the pupil to become larger. The physician will then discuss the results of your testing and evaluation to help determine the options best suited for you. After your appointment, you may experience light sensitivity for a few hours after the dilation and may want to bring someone to drive you home.

Before Your Visit

Special instructions for contact lens wearers: Soft lens wearers need to discontinue lens wear at least 7 consecutive days prior and up to your appointment date. Hard or rigid lens wearers need to discontinue lens wear at least 14 consecutive days prior and up to your appointment date. Please call your insurance provider. Contacting your insurance company will help to determine whether Horizon Eye Care is an in-network provider as well as what is covered under your policy. Your insurance company may ask the name of your primary care physician, so please have that information ready.

Questions to ask your insurance company:

  • Is Horizon Eye Care in-network for my plan?
  • Is a referral required for specialty care?
  • Does my insurance plan cover cataract surgery?
  • Is a refraction service (code 92015) covered under my vision or medical plan? A refraction service is a routine but crucial test which determines whether you have had any changes in your vision or have an underlying eye disease. A refraction exam is required before glasses or contact lenses can be prescribed. If your insurance does not cover a refraction exam, you must pay these fees. Horizon Eye Care offers a “prompt pay rate” of $45 if paid at time of service. If you are referred from an optometrist, the fee may be waived.
Before coming to your appointment, please plan to bring these five items:
  1. Legal I.D., including health care power of attorney form
  2. Insurance card, showing current coverage for you
  3. Eyeglasses or contacts you have been fitted for and/or currently wear
  4. A complete list of current medications, including the dosage and how often you take each medication
  5. Be prepared to provide details of your medical history as well as the health history of your eyes
  6. Method of payment. Horizon accepts cash, check, VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Please note: Horizon Eye Care policy states that all co-pays must be collected at time of service
If you are a new patient, there are three additional forms to fill out prior to your appointment. You can print them out by going to Patient Forms and downloading the New Patient Form, the Medical Records Release Form and our Patient Privacy acknowledgement. Alternatively, you can complete these forms online using our Patient Portal. Call us at 704-365-0555 to obtain an enrollment token to access the Patient Portal.

When You Arrive

Horizon is accessibility friendly. Each of our six Charlotte-area offices is located on the first floor for your convenience – a short distance from the front door. Waiting rooms are spacious, clean, up-to-date and comfortable. Please check in at the front desk when you arrive. Once you’re seated, please check back with the receptionist if you have not been seen within 20 minutes.

Waiting For Your Doctor

We appreciate that you have chosen Horizon Eye Care for your vision needs. By addressing the items we’ve covered here before arriving for your appointment, you can help us ensure the most worry-free experience possible. If there is anything else we can do to make your visit with us more pleasant, we encourage you to let us know. There are two basic kinds of appointments: routine eye check-ups and medical appointments. Routine eye check-ups are often simple, requiring little waiting time. Medical appointments, which range from surgical procedures to multi-stage examination visits, often require dilation or other treatment and generally require more time. As part of a medical practice, Horizon Eye Care doctors are sometimes called upon for eye-related emergencies throughout the day. These emergencies and other special situations may also add to your wait time. We regret the inconvenience but appreciate your patience in those instances. While you are waiting for your doctor, we invite you to enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi in all of our practice offices. If you have not yet made your appointment, please call 704-365-0555 during regular business hours or use our online form to Request An Appointment anytime. If you have not enrolled on our Patient Portal, you can obtain an enrollment token by calling us at 704-365-0555. Patient Portal enrollees can request an appointment 24-hours a day by logging in here and choosing Schedule and Request an Appointment from the main navigation.

During your cataract evaluation, your physician will order testing to determine specific measurements of your eye. Based on the results of those tests, your physician will talk with you about replacement lens options and consider a range of factors, including your hobbies and lifestyle. A variety of lenses is available, though not everyone is a candidate for all options. Some lenses include an additional out-of-pocket expense.

There are three types of Intraocular Lenses (IOL’s) that ophthalmologists implant in the eye during cataract surgery.

  • Monofocal Lenses
    • Most common type of IOL
    • Provide equal power across the lens
    • Used primarily to correct nearsightedness
    • Most people who choose monofocals have their IOL’s set for distance vision and use reading glasses for near vision
    • These lenses are also frequently used to provide a different correction in each eye, which is referred to as monovision strategy:
      • One IOL is used to correct near vision while the other is used to correct distance vision
      • The brain adapts to see intermediate distances as well
      • Monovision strategy may eliminate the need for reading glasses
    • Multifocal IOL
      • This type of lens is comprised of different focal strengths, enabling you to see a variety of distances (near, far and astigmatism)
      • Types: PanOptix, Restor and Symfony
    • Toric Implant
      • A lens calculated for astigmatism correction as well as best possible distance vision
      • Types: PanOptix Toric, Restor Toric and Symfony Toric
To assist with your understanding, we have provided answers to some frequently asked questions about cataract surgery. Do not hesitate to call us with any other questions you may have. 704-365-0555.
  • Do I have to undergo surgery right now? Cataract surgery is an elective procedure, meaning your surgery will be scheduled in advance and is not considered an emergency. If unsure, request to speak again with your surgeon or staff. The only treatment for cataracts is surgery.
  • What happens during surgery? Cataract surgery is performed in an outpatient setting, meaning no overnight hospital stay. Your eye will be numbed, dilated with drops and then cleaned to prevent infection. The surgeon will perform your surgery in an operating room with sterile instruments. A small incision will be made and an instrument inserted into the eye to break up the cataract using ultrasound. The cataract is then suctioned from the eye and an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens or IOL, will be inserted. You will be given medication to ensure your comfort.
  • Will my cataract come back? No, once a cataract is removed, it cannot come back. In the months and years following the cataract surgery, you may develop a posterior capsular opacity (PCO). This means the capsule, the membrane behind the implant, becomes hazy. If this happens, the surgeon can perform a safe, quick, painless laser procedure called a laser capsulotomy to clear up your vision.
  • What will my recovery be like? Your vision will be temporarily impaired following surgery, and you may feel tired from the sedatives. The surgeon will prescribe drops for you to use after surgery to prevent infection and swelling, and to help your eye heal. You may have a sensation of something being in your eye, like an eyelash or speck of dirt. This will subside with healing.
  • Basics
    • How common are cataracts? The older you get, the more common cataracts become. In fact, over 50% of Americans who are 80 and older either have cataracts or have had surgery to remove them.
    • What are common symptoms?
      • Increasing difficulty seeing at night
      • Sensitivity to light and glare
      • Seeing “halos” around lights
      • Frequent changes in your eyeglass or contact lens prescription
      • Fading or yellowing of colors
      • Vision is not improved by any glasses prescription
    • What are treatment options?
      • Early on, you may be able to make small changes to manage your cataracts, including:
        • Use brighter lights at work and/or home
        • Wear anti-glare sunglasses
        • Use magnifying lenses for reaching and other activities
        • New glasses or contacts prescriptions
      • Your doctor may recommend cataract surgery once they start interfering with daily activities such as reading, driving and watching television. Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the US (over 3.8 million per year).
    • Can I live with cataracts? Once cataracts have progressed, you will likely need surgery. As they develop, it is important to:
      • Be extra careful while driving
      • Consult with your eye doctor on treatment options
      • Stay up to date with your comprehensive eye exams
      • Maintain a healthy lifestyle
    • What can happen if I don’t get surgery? If left untreated, cataracts can cause total blindness.
  • Surgery
    • Does it hurt? In addition to a mild sedative, you will have an anesthetic placed on the surface of each eye so that it is numb during the entire procedure. Patients are monitored for signs of discomfort.
    • Why can’t I have both eyes operated on at the same time? If you have cataracts in both eyes, surgery is typically performed on the first eye a few days or weeks before the second eye. This method allows the first eye to recover and your vision in that eye to stabilize prior to surgery being performed on your other eye.
  • Surgery – Preparation
    • How do I know I’m a candidate for the surgery? Your optometrist and/or ophthalmologist will perform a comprehensive eye exam to check the overall health of your eyes and evaluate if you are eligible for cataract surgery.
    • Where do I go for my surgery? Horizon Eye Care uses multiple surgery centers. Your surgery will be performed at a location where your doctor has privileges.
    • Will I be able to drive myself home or should I have someone plan to drive me to and from the surgery? Plan on someone driving you to and from the surgery.
  • Surgery – Recovery
    • What limitations are there post-surgery?
      • No driving on the first day following surgery
      • Do not do any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for a few weeks
      • Avoid bending over to prevent putting extra pressure on your eye
      • Keep away from any unnecessary strain
      • Be careful walking around soon after surgery in case you bump into something
      • No swimming or time spent in hot tubs during the first week of recovery
      • Avoid irritants such as dust, dirt, wind and pollen
      • Do not rub your eyes
      • Exempt from travel
    • How will I feel after cataract surgery? It is normal to feel itching and mild discomfort for a couple days following surgery. You will also likely feel tired and groggy, with the sensation of having an eyelash in your eye.
    • How soon will I notice results? During your one-day post-op appointment, your doctor will be able to tell you if your vision has improved. Typically, you will notice an improvement within 48 hours, though it ispossible that your vision could take one to two weeks to adjust and settle.
    • How long do I need to wait to have the operation on my second eye? Each patient is unique. However, if you have cataracts in both eyes, the surgeries are typically performed between a few days and a few weeks apart.
    • How soon after can I drive? Most patients are able to resume drivingwithin 24 hours. However, this completely depends on the individual patient. The day after your surgery, you will return to your surgeon's office for a follow-up appointment, where your doctor will assess your recovery.
    • When will I be able to go back to work? The answer to this question is totally dependent on multiple factors, such as the patient’s time to recovery and occupation.
    • Will I be able to wear contact lenses? Patients are able to sear contact lenses once they are cleared by their doctor.
  • Financing | Insurance Information – link to https://horizoneye.com/patient-resources/costs-insurance
If you are not yet a candidate for cataract surgery, but wish to improve your vision, please contact your doctor to learn more about Clear Lens Exchange | Refractive Lens Exchange. The goal of this surgery is to reduce the need for reading glasses, bifocals and contact lenses.

View Cataract Videos


Make an appointment

Horizon Eye Care has been a leader in cataract and refractive surgery in the Charlotte area since 1998. Schedule an exam to determine your best treatment. Online, use our Request An Appointment form or Horizon Eye Care’s Patient Portal. Or call 704-365-0555 during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

Doctors

Joseph M. Biber, MDWilliam A. Branner, III, MD
Lewis R. Gaskin, MDJoseph H. Krug, Jr., MD
Mark L. Malton, MDVandana R. Minnal, MD
Gerald B. Rosen, MDHunter S. Stolldorf, MD
Randall N. Stein, MDRoyce R. Syracuse, MD, MBA


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