A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. Common symptoms of a cataract include cloudy or blurred vision, trouble reading fine print or driving, difficulty seeing at night, seeing glare or halos around lights, and a change in how one perceives colors.
Cataract surgery replaces the natural lens of the eye with a permanent intraocular lens (IOL) implant that is corrected for either near or distance vision. If desired, this IOL can be customized to correct for astigmatism or spectacle-free vision. All IOLs that we implant are inserted through a small incision that results in a quicker recovery time towards your finalized vision.
- No Stitch
Cataract procedures can be performed using a small incision technique whereby the cloudy lens (cataract) is removed through a technique called phacoemulsification (phaco). The phaco tip is introduced through a small incision and the cataract is broken up via ultrasound before being removed. For this type of incision, stitches may not be required. The small incision, no stitch technique is used for both standard and customized implants.
- Customized Lens Implant For Astigmatism (Toric Lens)
Astigmatism is an abnormality of the eye that is not related to the cataract but to the shape of the cornea, the front surface of the eye. Despite removal of the cataract, patients with astigmatism usually will require glasses for distance vision postoperatively. The Toric intraocular lens (IOL) is a customized implant that can be inserted at the time of cataract removal to significantly decrease/eliminate the need for glasses due to your astigmatism. Not all patients are a surgical candidate for this type of implant. Astigmatism can also be treated with another technique, astigmatic keratotomy, also known as limbal relaxing incisions. Your surgeon will review various options towards correction of your astigmatism, and assist you in making a final decision that is best for you.
- Customized Lens Implant For Spectacle-free Vision (Presbyopic Lens)
At the time of cataract removal, one option for post-op vision correction is a customized implant that provides for spectacle-free vision, known as the multifocal intraocular lens (IOL). A multifocal IOL helps focus both at a distance and at near. The multifocal IOL is designed to permit less reliance on glasses and/or contact lenses to see clearly both near and at a distance.
- Limbal Relaxing Incisions
Astigmatism is an abnormality of the eye that is not related to the cataract but to the shape of the cornea, the front surface of the eye. Patients with astigmatism usually will require glasses for distance vision postoperatively, despite removal of the cataract. Limbal relaxing incisions are small surgical incisions that are made at the edge of the cornea to change the shape of the eye. The goal of a limbal relaxing incision is to reduce the preoperative astigmatism, thereby improving your vision without glasses. Another choice for correction of astigmatism is implantation of the Toric intraocular lens. Your surgeon will discuss with you the options for astigmatic correction, and make the final decision based upon the best medical choice for your eye.
- Secondary Cataract (Yag Capsulotomy)
YAG capsulotomy is a laser procedure that is sometimes required after cataract surgery. When a cataract is removed, a thin membrane is left behind to hold the new intraocular lens. This membrane is actually the skin or outer shell of the natural lens. After surgery, this membrane can sometimes contract or form scar tissue, or with time cells grow over this membrane and make it hazy. The YAG laser is used to make an opening in the membrane to restore normal vision.
*Unless otherwise noted, above listed explanations were taken in part from patient education brochures furnished by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2008). San Francisco, CA.