The lens in the eye can become cloudy and hard, a condition known as a cataract. Cataracts can develop from normal aging, from an eye injury, or if you have taken medications known as steroids. Cataracts typically develop slowly and progressively causing a gradual decrease in vision. In addition to blurry vision, other changes you may experience with a developing cataract include a decrease in color intensity, glare at night, frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription, yellowing of images, and sensitivity to light. If the cataract changes your vision so much that it interferes with your daily life, the cataract may need to be removed. Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract.
How will removing a cataract affect my vision?
The goal of cataract surgery is to correct the decreased vision caused by the cataract. During the surgery, Dr. Bigles uses ultrasound technology to remove the cataract and will put in a new artificial lens called an intraocular lens or IOL. The IOL will be left in the eye permanently. Cataract surgery will not correct other causes of decreased vision, such as glaucoma, diabetes, or age-related macular degeneration. Most people will still need to wear glasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery for either near and/or distance vision and astigmatism. However, we also offer the TORIC® lens for patients with astigmatism, and the ReSTOR®, and TECNIS® Multifocal lens implants for patients who desire to be free from their glasses after surgery.
Examinations Prior to Surgery
When you decide to have cataract surgery, you will undergo a complete eye examination. This may include an examination to determine your eyeglass prescription (refraction), measurement of your vision with and without glasses (visual acuity), and measurement of the pressures inside your eye (tonometry). The next step in the surgery process is your preoperative appointment which will take place at our Covington office. At your pre-op appointment, we will measure the curvature of your cornea (keratometry), take an ultrasonic measurement of the length of your eye (axial length), and calculate the measurements of your intraocular lens (biometry) to determine the best power for your IOL implant. Microscopic examination of the front part of your eye (slit-lamp examination), and examination of the retina of your eye with your pupils dilated are all diagnostic measures we take to ensure that you achieve the best possible vision after surgery.
What can I expect after my cataracts are removed?
Depending on the precise symptoms caused by your cataract, you may enjoy some or all of the following benefits of surgery:
- Improved clarity of vision
- Improved vision in dim light
- Reduced glare on a sunny day or during night driving
- Colors may seem richer
- Improved vision may enable you to continue driving
- Many studies have shown improved quality of life after cataract surgery. Activities such as reading, sports, cooking, driving, using a computer and sewing are generally easier after the operation. Even when the eye also suffers from other problems such as retinal disease, the remaining vision is usually improved by cataract surgery.
- In most cases, patients who have had cataract surgery will only need glasses for reading as the surgeon will try to correct your distance vision with the lens implant.
- An opportunity to become spectacle free with TECNIS®, and ReSTOR®, Multifocal lens implants
- The phaco-emulsification technique is usually quick, safe and gentle to the eye and the recovery period is very short so that these improvements can be enjoyed quickly.