More than half of Americans over 65 years of age have cataracts, and there are more than 14.5 million cataract surgeries performed around the world every year. It is one of the safest, most common surgical procedures performed today. Advances in treatment options and cataract lens implant technologies are providing people with excellent vision, significantly improving their lifestyles after surgery.
Cataract surgery is no longer a “one size fits all” procedure. Lens technology has advanced to the point where you and Dr. Waters can customize your cataract surgery to best fit your lifestyle and visual demands and reduce your dependence on glasses. New lens technologies now give you the opportunity to have higher quality distance vision, better vision in low lighting conditions, and better depth of focus for improved intermediate vision.
While no one can make you see as well as you did when you were 25, we can turn the clock back, so you can have the vision of someone around the age of 40. Please carefully consider your options. After all, what other purchase can you make that you’ll use 16 hours a day, every day for the rest of your life?
The choices you and Dr. Waters have can be found here.
What is a Cataract?
As the lens of the eye ages it hardens, becomes cloudy and impairs vision. The word “cataract” also means “waterfall” signifying that when the lens becomes cloudy it’s like looking through a waterfall. Cataracts affect colors, making things look dull. They also dramatically increase the risk of falling, since it is difficult to navigate stairs, steps and curbs with cloudy vision. Everyone at some point in their lives will develop cataracts, however not everyone will need or want them removed.
Since cataracts usually develop slowly, and in one eye faster than the other, vision is not completely impaired. For people who need to see fine detail for their work or hobbies, even a small cataract can be an impairment. A cataract should be removed when it interferes with normal daily activities, presents a physical danger, or when a patient is bothered by it.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have a cataract:
- Cloudy, blurry vision
- Faded or yellowed colors
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Halos around lights
- Need for brighter lights for reading and other activities
- Increased difficullty driving at night
- Frequest prescription changes for your glasses
Why Does a Cataract Develop?
Most people develop cataracts as a natural part of the aging process. Other factors that can also contribute to the early onset of a cataract or the rapid growth of a cataract are:
- Extended exposure to sunlight without proper UV filtering glasses
- Use of some medications, including steroids
- Systemic diseases, such as diabetes
- High fat diet
- Other Issues Affecting Vision
Presbyopia: In adults over 40, the eye’s natural lens becomes less flexible, and the muscles around the lens weaken resulting in the need for reading glasses. With presbyopia you may have difficulty adjusting your focus between objects at a distance such as traffic signs, and objects up close, like when reading a map. During cataract surgery Dr. Waters can treat presbyopia by using a multifocal or accommodating lens implant.
Astigmatism: This common eye condition happens when the cornea has an irregular shape, like a football. When light rays pass through the football-shaped cornea, they can’t focus on one spot. This may cause you to experience blurry or distorted vision. Dr. Waters can correct astigmatism during cataract surgery with a TORIC lens implant.
Dr. Waters’ cataract surgery involves the following advanced techniques:
Topical Anesthesia: Dr. Waters uses topical anesthesia drops to numb the eye making the procedure virtually painless.
No-stitch, small Incision: Dr. Waters uses a tiny 3mm incision that self-seals and needs no stitches. Because this no-stitch method is minimally invasive, patients can experience improved vision almost immediately after surgery.
Phacoemulsification: Dr. Waters uses a phaco instrument similar to an ultrasound to gently remove the cataract. The thin capsule that houses the lens remains intact allowing the lens implant to be put in its place.
Lens Implant: Once the cataract is removed, Dr. Waters places an intraocular lens into the capsule. The lens expands to fill the capsule and is designed to remain in place for the patient’s lifetime.
Side Effects: As with any surgery there are risks, however modern cataract surgery improves vision at least 95% of the time. Some normal side effects immediately following surgery include glare, light sensitivity, scratchiness, tearing and blurring. These side effects usually subside within a few days or weeks after surgery. In a small percentage of patients the capsule that holds the new lens becomes cloudy and vision becomes blurred. The cloudy capsule is easily cleared up with a laser treatment done in our office.
The Surgery Center
Dr. Waters’ patients have the added comfort and convenience of surgery at The Surgery Center, located a block away from Complete Eye Care. The Surgery Center is Genesee County’s first multi-specialty outpatient surgical facility. Its highly-trained nursing staff gives complete attention to patients’ and families’ needs. For cataract surgery, patients will usually be at the center less than 2-3 hours before returning home.
If you are experiencing cataracts, click here or call our office at 810-732-2272, so we can be of service.