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A cataract is a common condition that causes a clouding of the eye's natural lens, and affects millions of people each year, including more than half of all Americans over the age of 65. Cloudiness develops as a result of a buildup of protein in the lens
Cataracts cause a progressive, painless loss of vision. The lens clouds naturally as we age, causing people over the age of 65 to see a gradual reduction of vision. The exact cause of cataracts is unknown, although it may be a result of injury, certain medications, illnesses (such as diabetes), prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light and smoking.
Dr. Keamy will perform a series of tests in order to diagnose a cataract. A dilated eye exam will be performed to test the vision and to examine the condition of the lens and other parts of the eye. Dr. Keamy will perform tonometry, a procedure that measures the pressure in the eye.
Patients with cataracts often do not experience any symptoms when the condition first develops. Cataracts will continue to progress with no apparent pain, although patients may experience:
If visual impairment begins to interfere with your ability to read, work or do the things you enjoy, you may want to consider cataract surgery to restore your vision. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the US, and can be performed quickly and easily with a success rate of over 90 percent and a minimal risk of complications.
Cataract surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that involves numbing the eyes with anesthesia and then making a tiny incision into which an ultrasonic probe is inserted. The phacoemulsification probe breaks up, or emulsifies, the cloudy lens into tiny pieces and then suctions them out of the eye. Once the cloudy lens has been removed, a new artificial lens is implanted into the eye. This lens is known as an intraocular (IOL) lens, and can often be inserted through the same incision that the old lens was removed from.
Surgery usually takes only a few minutes to perform and is painless for most patients. After the procedure, a patch may be placed over the eye and you will be asked to rest for a while. Patients can return home the very same day, but will need someone to drive you home. For the next few days, you may experience itching, mild discomfort, fluid discharge and sensitivity to light and touch. Dr. Keamy will prescribe eye drops to help the healing process and to reduce the risk of infection.
There are several different IOLs available to help each patient achieve the best possible results from his/her cataract surgery. Multifocal IOLs allow for full vision correction at near, intermediate and far distances, completely eliminating the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses in most patients. Some IOLs can also correct astigmatism.
These choices were not always available for cataract patients. In the past, cataract surgery only involved monofocal lenses, which could only focus on objects near or far, but could not adjust to accommodate varying distances. These patients still had to rely on glasses or contact lenses after surgery in order to see clearly at all distances, especially in older patients suffering from presbyopia.
If left untreated, cataracts will worsen over time and may lead to permanent vision loss or even blindness. It is important to have regular eye exams in order to detect cataracts as early as possible and to plan an effective treatment method.
Although cataract surgery is considered safe, there are certain risks associated with any surgery. Some of these risks may include pain, infection, swelling and bleeding. Most patients undergo this procedure without any complications.
Laser-assisted cataract surgery using the Catalys system offers the highest level of precision available today for this procedure. All cataract surgery is performed to remove the cloudy lens from the patient’s eye and replace it with an intraocular lens to restore vision. But laser-assisted cataract surgery with Catalys takes the level of customization much further than traditional cataract procedures. It is the only laser system created specifically for the surgical treatment of cataracts.
Instead of just measuring and mapping the eye, the Catalys offers advanced optical coherence tomography to obtain much more detailed, high resolution images of the eye. Prior to the surgery, the doctor will take all of the information provided by these images to design a very specific, personalized surgical plan for that patient’s unique eyes. The Catalys system additionally features state-of-the-art image guidance technology that recognizes the various surfaces of the eye and generates safety zones that help the physician determine the optimal location for an incision and target the treatment area precisely.