Like the transparent lens of a camera, the eye’s lens focuses images of both near and distant objects to make them clear. A cataract causes the lens to become progressively cloudy, which interferes with light passing through the eye to the retina.
What causes a cataract?
In most cases, the culprit is the normal aging process. In fact, if you are age 65 or older, you probably have cataracts, but they may not have progressed to the point that they affect your vision.
How are cataracts treated?
When cataracts begin to affect your everyday activities, traditional or laser cataract surgery is performed to remove the cataract-clouded lens and replace it with a clear artificial lens.
Cataract surgery can be very effective, but is only performed when necessary to improve vision. Your surgeon will help you understand the risks and benefits involved and help you to decide if surgery is the right choice for you.
What happens during cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that usually takes approximately 7-10 minutes to perform:
- First, you’ll receive a relaxing sedative while the eye is anesthetized and dilated with drops. The sedative is to help you feel comfortable and relaxed during surgery.
- Your clouded natural lens will be broken up and removed with traditional instruments or a laser. It is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens implant (IOL).
These implants come in many different lens powers and include a monofocal lens (for distance OR near vision), a multifocal lens (for distance AND near vision), and a toric lens (to correct astigmatism). Prior to surgery, your surgeon will help you decide which IOL best suits your vision and lifestyle needs.
- Eye drops are used to treat inflammation and prevent infection. You may notice some mild discomfort for a few days following surgery.
- Most patients are able to resume normal activity within a day or two of surgery. You will see the surgeon for a post-operative visit the day after surgery. If a prescription for glasses is need, one will be prescribed after one month.
If you experience vision loss, persistent pain, increased redness, flashes, floaters, or nausea after surgery, contact your surgeon immediately. If they are not available, seek medical care.
What is laser cataract surgery?
The CATALYS Precision Laser System is designed for patients undergoing cataract surgery. The laser system uses advanced technology to ensure safe and effective removal of the clouded crystalline lens. The CATALYS Precision Laser System uses the LIQUID OPTICS Interface to provide a clear path for the laser and an INTEGRAL GUIDANCE System to map the eye for a customized procedure.
The LIQUID OPTICS Interface provides patients with a more precise procedure. The interface uses OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) technology to create a wide range of view of the eye and a clear path for the laser, ensuring that all incisions are precise. The clear path decreases the risk of injury during and after the surgery, including decreased intraocular pressure rise and eye redness.
The INTEGRAL GUIDANCE System enhances OCT technology to ensure that the laser is delivered to the right location on the eye. The surgeon uses 3D OCT imaging to create an image of the eye and a map of the eye's surface. The surgeon can then identify the precise location of the lasers, creating a completely customized procedure.
What kind of results can I expect after cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery often reduces the amount of total prescription for patients. However, glasses or contacts may be necessary after surgery for clear near and/or distance vision. Your results will depend on your eyes’ unique characteristics and on which type of IOL you choose.
What should I do if I’m worried about cataracts?
If you think cataracts may be affecting your vision, call Eye Associates of Colorado Springs to request a consultation. One of our experience eye doctors will evaluate your eyes and recommend the best way to restore your best possible vision.