Your eye has a clear lens through which light passes, allowing you to see. When the lens loses its transparency, the cloudy tissue that develops is known as a cataract.
Cataracts cause progressive, painless loss of vision. The lens clouds naturally as we age, so people over the age of 65 usually see a gradual reduction of vision. No one is exactly sure what causes cataracts. In younger people they can result from an injury, certain medications, or illnesses such as diabetes. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light may also play a role in the formation of cataracts. Studies have also shown that people who smoke cigarettes have a higher risk of developing cataracts than non-smokers.
Although cataracts usually develop without apparent pain, some indications that a cataract may be forming are:
If visual impairment interferes with your ability to read, work, or do the things you enjoy then you will want to consider cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is a relatively painless and is one of the most frequently performed procedures. It has a very high success rate and more than 90 percent of cataract surgery patients regain useful vision.
Cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL).
We perform a minimally invasive, small-incision, no-stitch cataract surgery called phacoemulsification (“phaco”) surgery. First, the eye is numbed with anesthesia. Then a tiny incision is made in the eye to make room for a small ultrasonic probe. This probe breaks up, or emulsifies, the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The pieces are then suctioned out through the probe.
After the cloudy lens has been removed, a new artificial lens, or IOL, is implanted in the eye. With the recent advance of foldable IOLs, artificial lenses can be implanted through the same small incision from the phaco procedure.