Cataract Surgery in Brooklyn, New York
What Are Cataracts?
Your eye has a natural lens through which light passes, allowing you to see. This lens should be clear throughout your life. When this lens loses its transparency and becomes cloudy, it is known as a cataract. Your vision may appear as though you are looking through a foggy or dusty window. Cataracts cause progressive, painless loss of vision as things look blurry, hazy, and lose color.
What Causes Cataracts?
No one is exactly sure what causes cataracts at every stage in life. In younger people, cataracts can result from injury, certain medications, or illnesses such as diabetes. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light may also play a role in the formation of cataracts. Additionally, studies have shown that people who smoke cigarettes have a higher risk of developing cataracts than nonsmokers.
Typically, aging is the most common cause of cataracts. This is due to normal changes in the eye that happen after the age of 40. It is around that time that the normal proteins in the lens start to break down and cause the clouding of the lens.
Other reasons you may develop cataracts include:
- Having parents, brothers, sisters, or other family members who have cataracts
- Having certain medical problems, such as diabetes
- Sustaining an eye injury, having eye surgery, or radiation treatments on your upper body
- Spending a lot of time in the sun without sunglasses that protect your eyes from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays
Who Do Cataracts Typically Affect?
As the eye goes through its natural changes, people over the age of 55 usually see a gradual reduction of vision since they begin to develop a clouding of their natural lens. Most age-related cataracts develop gradually. Other cataracts can develop more quickly, such as those in younger people or those in people with diabetes. Doctors cannot predict how quickly a person’s cataract will develop.
Although cataracts usually develop without apparent pain, some indications that a cataract may be forming are:
- Blurred or hazy vision
- Double vision
- Poor vision in bright light
- Seeing halos around lights
- Yellowish tinged vision
- Night vision difficulty
How can I Prevent Cataracts?
As cataracts are usually a natural, age-related phenomena, there may be no sure-fire way to prevent cataracts entirely. However, protecting your eyes from sunlight is the best way to slow the development of cataracts. Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) light rays or sunglasses that have a clear, anti-UV coating. Talk to your eye doctor to learn more.
Why Get Cataract Surgery?
You are not required to have cataract surgery if you are comfortable with your vision and your symptoms are not progressed. Once visual impairment interferes with your ability to read, work, or do the things you enjoy, then you should consider cataract surgery. You should not have to endure poor vision in your day to day activities. Cataract surgery is relatively painless and is one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in the United States. It has a very high success rate; more than 98 percent of patients who undergo the surgery are able to regain useful vision.
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How Do I Prepare For My Cataract Surgery?
Your ophthalmologist will give you specific instructions to follow on the days leading up to, the day of, and the days after your surgery. There are certain medications that you will be asked to stop taking leading up to the date of your surgery.
Typically, eye-drops will be sent to your pharmacy a few days before the surgery so that you may begin using them. These drops are medication that help prevent infection and reduce swelling during and after the surgery.
The surgery is not preformed in our office, it will be scheduled at an outpatient surgical center.
On the day of the surgery, you will be asked to not eat any solid food at least 6 hours before the surgery.
What Are Intraocular Lenses? (IOLs)
Intraocular lenses, or IOLs, are the artificial lenses that replace the eye’s natural lens when it is removed during cataract surgery. IOLs have been around since the mid-1960s, but were not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration until 1981. Before that, if you had cataracts removed, you had to wear very thick eyeglasses or special contact lenses to see afterward, since the natural lens that had been removed wasn’t replaced with anything.
Until recently, every lens implant acted simply like a fixed-focus lens, allowing a person to see well either at a distance or close up but not both. Most of the time, people who receive these simple implants need reading glasses for close work.
New premium lens implants, such as multifocal lenses, trifocal lenses, and extended range of vision lenses, can provide both reading, intermediate, and distance vision without glasses for people undergoing cataract or refractive lens implant surgery. Additionally, with modern improvements, premium lenses are also available to those with astigmatism. Each of the implants work in slightly different ways, and not all implants are right for all patients. Your eye surgeon will help you make an informed decision about which implant will work best to provide a lifetime of clear vision for you.
Check out this vision simulator that can show you what kind of vision to expect from different conditions and different lens implants.