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Cataracts

What are Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes clouded, resulting in decreased vision that gets progressively worse over time. Many patients opt for cataract eye surgery to improve their vision. Please read on to find out about cataract removal, the types of cataract surgery procedures available, and lens replacement.

Cataract Removal

Surgical cataract removal is usually optional. It is done primarily to improve vision and quality of life. In most cases, the decision to have cataract surgery is entirely the patient’s.

More rarely, a cataract may impair the treatment of other eye problems. If this is the case, Dr. Zaffater may recommend surgery. Other possible cataract treatment options include stronger glasses or bifocals.

Patients should discuss these alternatives to cataract eye surgery with Dr. Zaffater in order to make the most informed decisions regarding their treatment.

Cataract eye surgery involves the removal of the natural, clouded lens of the eye and its subsequent replacement with a clear, artificial lens. The cataract surgery procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The entire cataract surgery procedure usually takes approximately fifteen minutes.

There are several variations in both the removal and the replacement portions of the surgery. The technique used depends on the patient's needs and the physician's diagnosis, as well as the type of cataract involved.

Types of Cataract Surgery

Extracapsular Surgery

The extracapsular cataract eye surgery procedure involves the removal of the lens, leaving the capsule in place. This provides added support and improves the healing ability of the eye. The most commonly performed type of extracapsular cataract surgery in the United States is phacoemulsification. Phacoemulsification softens and breaks apart the lens using ultrasound technology. After phacoemulsification is achieved, the cataract surgery is completed with the removal of the lens, leaving the capsule in place.

LenSx Laser for cataract surgery

The LenSx® laser is a computer-controlled, bladeless cataract laser which allows the surgeon to perform the most critical steps of the cataract surgery procedure. The LenSx® laser is the most technologically advanced option for cataract patients today. The LenSx system creates a custom map by capturing precise hi-res images of your eyes which means the cataract surgery procedure is 100% customized.

Lens Replacement

Intraocular lenses (IOLs) replace the natural lens within the lens capsule. They are inserted through a small incision and unfolded inside the eye. After cataract surgery with implantable lenses, glasses or contact lenses are needed in only about 10 percent of the cases. Cataract eye surgery patients who are extremely nearsighted may find that they still need to use glasses or contact lenses to improve their vision.

Intraocular lenses (IOL)

An intraocular lens is a small artificial lens for the eye, typically replacing a damaged lens that has been removed during cataract surgery. There are several different types of intraocular lenses available to patients depending on the individual’s needs:

  • Monofocal intraocular lenses are designed to only focus on near, intermediate, or far distance.
  • Multifocal intraocular lenses are premium lenses designed to focus on both near and far distances, using different regions of the lens that must be focused on by the patient.
  • Trifocal intraocular lenses are premium lenses designed to focus on all ranges of vision: near, intermediate and far. These lenses provide a full range of vision.
  • Toric intraocular lenses are premium lenses that correct astigmatism and are designed to focus on all ranges of vision: near, intermediate and far.
  • Through recent developments, aspheric intraocular lenses are slightly flatter on the edges, which allow the eye to distinguish shades of light and dark and see better at night.