If an eye develops a cataract, the most common treatment is cataract surgery, wherein the natural “crystalline” lens of the eye is removed because it has become opaque. An artificial lens is placed in the eyeball instead, to restore the eye’s transparency.
Cataracts is an eye condition that results in the clouding of the eye’s lens, which sits inside the eyeball behind the pupil and cornea. This opacity distorts the light coming through the pupil, and in severe cases it causes blindness.
Cataracts disease is usually age related: of Americans above 80 years old, over fifty percent have had cataracts. Age related cataracts develop as the lens structure within the human eye ages and metabolic changes in lens fibers cause the lens to become increasingly opaque.
Treating cataracts with surgery
During the cataract surgical procedure, the crystalline lens, which has clouded over (the cataract lens), is extracted. A new intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted where the original one had been.
As optometrists, we cannot perform surgery, however, we work with ophthalmologists who treat cataracts. And, we will offer you pre-surgery and post-operative care. Cataract surgery is generally a quick outpatient procedure, taking place in an ambulatory setting. It is usually conducted under local anesthesia (either topical, peribulbar, or retrobulbar) and makes use of small incision phacoemulsification. Patients report little to no pain during the procedure, and the success rate is very high. Over ninety percent of cataract surgeries restore vision, and the recovery is typically fast and uncomplicated.