Cataracts FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What are cataracts and why do they need to be removed?
Cataracts are a cloudiness that develops on the natural lens of the eye when we age, causing vision to become blurred. When cataracts progress to a certain point, traditional contacts and glasses can't correct your vision and surgery is needed to replace your natural eye lens with a synthetic intraocular lens.
Is the cataract removal operation dangerous?
All surgery carries some degree of risk, but cataract surgery is the most common surgery performed in the United States today. With an experienced cataract removal surgeon like Sandy T. Feldman, M.D., M.S. of San Diego the risks and complications are extremely minimal.
What are the risks and possible complications of the cataract surgery?
Risks and complications are rare, but include infection, bleeding and swelling. Retinal detachment, while extremely rare, has been reported in the past. During the informed consent process, a more complete list of possible complications will be given and discussed.
How is a cataract removed?
The cataract is removed through a tiny incision made into the eye, Dr. Feldman uses an ultrasonic tool to break up and remove the natural lens, which has become clouded by a cataract. The membrane on the back of the lens is left intact so the new intraocular lens can be inserted.
What exactly is an intraocular lens (IOL)?
An IOL is a synthetic lens implanted in your eye to mimic the natural function of the cloudy lens that needed to be removed. At ClearView Eye and Laser Medical Center, we offer our patients traditional single (distance) vision IOLs as well as several different brands of advanced IOLs that allow you to see near and far with less dependency on glasses.
Will I need to wear glasses after my cataract surgery?
With the advanced IOL lenses many of our cataract patients do not need to wear glasses for driving or intermediate vision. However, our patients who choose traditional single (distance) vision IOLs will need to use glasses for reading and computer work after cataract surgery.
If cataracts have limited your lifestyle, please call or email us to learn more about the cataract removal operation, and schedule a consultation with San Diego cataract surgeon, Dr. Sandy Feldman. There's no better time to improve your vision and improve your quality of life.
ClearView Eye and Laser Medical Center provides cataract removal operations in the San Diego, California area. We offer this web page as general information about cataracts. This information should not be considered formal medical advice. Please contact us today for formal advice during a cataract removal consultation in San Diego.
What symptoms are associated with cataracts?
Cataracts slowly develop with age and are painless. They, often go unnoticed until a doctor discovers them during an eye exam. Symptoms include blurry vision with colors that seem dim or faded with a yellow or brown tint, bright light sensitivity, halos that appear when looking at lights, heightened sensitivity to bright lights and glare, and poor night vision.
What causes cataracts?
The most common reason cataracts develop is age. With the natural aging process, the lens of the eye becomes thick, yellow, and cloudy, eventually disrupting vision and causing blindness. Diabetes, glaucoma, eye injuries, and chronic use of corticosteroids can also cause the development of cataracts.
Where do cataracts originate?
Cataracts can form in the center of the lens, at the cortex or outer lens covering, or at the back of the lens.
Are cataracts an inevitable part of aging?
Yes. As you age, the lens of your eye ages as well, growing thicker and cloudy, eventually forming a cataract. Anyone who lives long enough will develop a cataract.
Do cataracts spur the development of other eye conditions?
As cataracts form, they affect the eye's lens, which is responsible for refracting light. Even if you aren't nearsighted or farsighted, a cataract can cause these conditions to develop by changing the way light enters the lens. Very rarely, a cataract will cause glaucoma. This only occurs if the cataract is left to mature and grow exceptionally large in size.
Are cataracts and presbyopia related?
Cataracts and presbyopia are not related. As the natural lens of the eye ages, it hardens and the surrounding muscles become less flexible, resulting in presbyopia. Cataracts form as the lens thickens and becomes cloudy with age, distorting or blocking the light as it enters the eye. Many people experience presbyopia and cataracts together because both develop with age, however their origins are independent of one another. You can have cataracts without presbyopia and vice-versa.
Can cataracts redevelop after surgery?
No, cataract surgery permanently removes the cataract and replaces it with a permanent IOL. The cataract will not grow back. However, some patients experience clouding of the membrane (capsule) that holds the IOL in place. The treatment for this is called a capsulotomy. In a capsulotomy, a laser is used to create a painless and quick hole in the clouded capsule allowing for light to come through and vision to be restored.
My father had to wear thick "coke bottle" glasses after his cataract surgery; will I have to wear these too?
Absolutely not! Before the development of IOLs, cataract surgery removed the eyes clouded lens without replacing it. Those "coke bottle" glasses were required because they acted as a substitute for the lens. Today, IOLs replace the lens that is clouded by a cataract, so the thick "coke bottle" glasses are no longer necessary. There are many types of IOLs. Some are specifically designed to eliminate the need for reading glasses or bifocals altogether, so you may never have to wear glasses or contact lenses again.
Does cataract surgery hurt?
Patients often experience a little eye pressure during surgery but little to no pain at all. Medication is given prior to surgery to relax the patient and eye drops anesthetize the eye and dilate the pupil. The actual procedure only takes about 20 minutes to complete. An anesthesiologist will assist in making sure the patient has adequate anti-anxiety medication during the procedure.
If I have a cataract in one eye, will it spread to the other?
If you have a cataract in one eye it does not mean you will get it in the other. A cataract can develop in only one eye or both. Cataracts are not infectious and they cannot spread from one person to another, or from one eye to the other.
What is recovery like after cataract surgery and when can I expect to see clearly again?
After cataract surgery it is normal for patients to experience a little itching, discomfort, and drainage as the eye heals. Your eye may also be sensitive to light and touch, with symptoms disappearing after one or two days. You will be able to see clearly as soon as your healing eye adjusts to focus with the other eye and you should be fully healed within eight weeks.