Have you noticed with age that your vision has become blurrier, darker and less vibrant? You’re not alone. Millions of people are dealing with cataracts each year. Cataracts are unfortunately a fact of life – something almost everyone will deal with at some point in their lives. Luckily, cataract surgery has come a long way and is now one of the safest and most routine surgeries worldwide.
What are Cataracts?
Behind your iris and pupil is a small, naturally clear lens. This lens is responsible for bending and focusing light onto the retina. Normally, this lens is crystal clear. With age, the proteins that make up a large amount of this lens begin to clump together. This is how a cataract develops.
As time goes on, these protein clumps begin to overtake the lens. The lens becomes cloudy, and vision can appear distorted and dark. When left untreated, cataracts can result in blindness.
The most noticeable symptom of cataracts is progressive blurry vision. It may not be noticeable at first, but over time you will notice that everyday tasks become more difficult.
Other cataract symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Double vision in one eye
- Poor night vision
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Painless blurring of vision
- Frequent changes in contact lens or glasses prescriptions
During an annual eye examination, your doctor should be able to diagnose cataract in any stage. Catching cataracts early can be helpful in determining the best time for surgery. Cataracts can be removed at any point, but most doctors will recommend waiting until they start affecting your daily life.
Cataract surgery is the only method of treatment proven to get rid of cataracts. Cataract surgery is extremely safe, and millions of people undergo it each year. Your surgeon will remove the cataract-affected lens and replace it with a clear artificial lens.
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are related to aging. Cataracts are very common in older people. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
A cataract can occur in either or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other.
When are you most likely to have a cataract?
The term “age-related” is a little misleading. You don’t have to be a senior citizen to get this type of cataract. In fact, people can have an age-related cataract in their 40s and 50s. But during middle age, most cataracts are small and do not affect vision. It is after age 60 that most cataracts steal vision.
Is cataract surgery effective?
Cataract removal is one of the most common operations performed in the United States. It also is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery. In about 90 percent of cases, people who have cataract surgery have better vision afterward.
What happens before surgery?
A week or two before surgery, Dr. Yuen/Tokunaga will run a scan of your eye to gather measurements. These tests may include measuring the curve of the cornea and the size and shape of your eye. This information helps your doctor choose the right lens to implant. Additionally, if you are a candidate, Dr Yuen/Tokunaga will offer to implant a multifocal lens for an additional fee. The ordinary cataract lens corrects vision for distance only, meaning you will need glasses to read. By implanting a multifocal lens, it corrects both distance and near vision, giving you the best all around vision possible. More information is included in the Multifocal Lens portion at the top of our website.
What happens the day of the surgery?
8 hours prior to your surgery time, you will not be able to eat or drink anything. Medications that you are not required to stop must be taken beforehand. 2 hours prior to surgery, you must check into the hospital or surgery center and be prepped for surgery. The surgical assistants will prep your eye for surgery.
Most people elect to stay awake for surgery as the actual procedure takes less than 30 minutes. You can elect to be placed under if you are feeling nervous or anxious about the procedure. After the surgery is done, you will be cared after by the staff until they feel you may be discharged and go home. You will not be able to drive after surgery as a patch will be placed over the operated eye. It is important to have someone pick you up or arrange for transportation. The patch cannot be removed until you follow up with Dr Yuen/Tokunaga the following day.
What happens post surgery?
Itching and mild discomfort are normal after cataract surgery. Some fluid discharge is also common. Your eye may be sensitive to light and touch. The day after surgery, Dr Yuen/Tokunaga will take off the patch and exam the eye to make sure the lens is in place and that proper healing has started. The office staff and doctors will give you a set of instructions and answer any questions you may have. In most cases, you will be allowed to drive day after surgery and most people return to work within the week of the surgery. As you heal from surgery, it is important to keep in mind that your vision still may be a little blurry, it takes a full month for your eyes to adjust.
If you suspect you have cataracts or if you are due for an eye examination, be sure to contact Aloha Vision Consultants today!