Cataract and Cataract Surgery
What is a Cataract?
Inside our eyes, we have a natural lens. The lens bends (refracts) light rays that come into the eye to help us see. The lens should be clear, like the top lens in the illustration below.
If you have a cataract, your lens has become cloudy, like the bottom lens in the illustration. It is like looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Things look blurry, hazy or less colorful with a cataract.
Common symptoms from cataracts include:
- blurry vision
- double vision (when you see two images instead of one)
- light sensitivity and glare
- Difficulty with night vision, or needing more light to read
- Seeing bright colors as faded or washed out
Aging is the most common cause. Normal clear proteins in the lens start to break down and become cloudy. Most people by their late 50s or early 60s have some degree of cataract. However, bothersome vision problems may not happen until years later.
Other reasons cataracts develop include:
- eye injury, eye surgery, or radiation treatment to your head or eye socket
- excessive sun exposure
- certain medications such as steroids
Most age-related cataracts develop gradually. Other cataracts can develop more quickly, such as those in younger people or those in people with diabetes. We cannot predict how quickly a person’s cataract will develop.
Dr. Banik will perform a comprehensive eye exam to make a cataract diagnosis. This will include refraction, a slit lamp exam, and dilation. She uses eye drops to widen your pupils so that she can examine the lens and determine the severity of the cataract. She also looks closely at the health of your optic nerve and retina to determine how much the cataract is affecting your vision.
Though prevention of cataract progression may be possible with diet and protection from the sun. However, once symptomatic, there is no medication or natural treatment which can reverse cataracts. Cataracts can be removed only with surgery.
If your cataract symptoms are not bothering you very much, you don’t have to remove a cataract. You might just need a new eyeglass prescription to help you see better. You should consider surgery when cataracts keep you from doing things you want or need to do.
Cataracts are a very common reason people lose vision, but they can be treated. You and Dr. Banik should discuss your cataract symptoms. Together, you can decide whether you are ready for cataract surgery.
*Adapted from aao.org
During cataract surgery, Dr. Banik will remove your eye’s cloudy natural lens. Click on the video below to see how cataract surgery is performed.
After the cloudy lens or cataract is removed from the eye, Dr. Banik will replace it with a clear, artificial lens. That lens is called an intraocular lens (IOL). Click on the video below to see how an IOL works.
There are several options for the type of IOL used: monofocal, multifocal, accommodative, and toric. Monofocal IOLs are standard and covered by most insurance carriers. Click on the video below which explains how a monofocal IOL works.
Some IOLs have different focusing powers within the same lens. These are called multifocal and accommodative lenses. These IOLs reduce your dependence on glasses by giving you clear vision for more than one set distance.
During your visit, Dr. Banik will discuss which IOL is the best option for you.
As you plan for your cataract surgery, talk to Dr. Banik about your vision needs and expectations.
Whether the practice of Rudrani Banik, MD is the first ophthalmology office you are visiting for eye treatment, or simply the last one, Dr. Banik will make sure she does everything in her power to find an effective treatment to help you see and function better.