How The Eye Works
Just like a camera, the eye has a lens in the front. This is located just behind the pupil. The lens takes the light or image rays and focuses them onto the back surface, the retina. Just like the film in a camera, the retina registers the focused image.
What Are Cataracts?
A cataract is the progressive clouding and brown discoloration of the natural lens of the eye, usually with age. Light can no longer be focused sharply, but instead is diffused in all directions giving a blurry image, just like looking through a frosted window. Glare symptoms, light sensitivity, difficulty distinguishing similar colors are all common when you have a cataract. There is currently no medical treatment to prevent or reverse a cataract. Surgery is necessary to remove the cloudy lens, which is then replaced with a synthetic clear intraocular lens (IOL).
When Should I Have Cataract Surgery?
Since cataracts don’t often affect the health of the eye, cataract surgery is generally considered to be an elective procedure. Previously, when higher risks were associated with older surgical techniques, surgery was often postponed until cataracts were “ripe” or severe. With state-of-the-art surgical technique such as that performed by Dr. McCarty, cataract surgery is appropriate when changes in vision become noticeable. Difficulties with routine activity such as reading or driving, especially at night, or trouble enjoying hobbies such as golf, tennis, cards, sewing are all indications for modern cataract surgery.
How is My Cataract Removed?
- Eyedrop Anesthesia. Cataract surgery begins with numbing of the eye. State-of-the-art technique now allows the use of topical eyedrop anesthesia to make the eye comfortable for the procedure.
- No-Stitch Incision. Dr. McCarty makes a tiny, precise incision using a diamond instrument. The small size and inconspicuous placement of the incision allows the incision to self-seal without the use of sutures. This maximizes safety and minimizes healing time.
- Phacoemulsification of the Cataractous Lens. Dr. McCarty removes the lens by dissolving it and washing it out of the eye with a special ultrasonic device about the size of the tip of a pen.
- Foldable Implant Lens. A crystal-clear replacement lens, rolled up inside an insertion tube, is slid into the eye where it unfolds and sits in the same location as the natural lens. The new implant lens is specially chosen for each individual eye to allow optimal focus for clear vision.
The Intraocular Lens (IOL)
Until recently, life without bifocals or reading glasses was not an option for most cataract patients. Now there are a variety of options for vision correction at the time of cataract surgery.
- Monofocal Lens. This standard IOL optimizes quality of vision with excellent clarity and contrast sensitivity by focusing all the light rays that enter the eye onto one focal point. Patients often just wear spectacles for fine print after receiving this lens, and may drive and perform distance activities without dependence on spectacles.
- Monovision. Patients accustomed to monovision with contact lenses may also achieve this with the monofocal IOL. The IOL for one eye is calculated for distance activities, and one eye more for near activities, such as computer work or reading.
- Toric Premium Lens. Astigmatism can now be corrected with the Toric IOL at the time of cataract surgery. Patients with astigmatism who are interested in spectacle-free distance vision can elect to have this IOL implanted.
- Presbyopia-Correcting Lens. Presbyopia, or the loss of the ability of the natural lens to focus up close with age, can be addressed with this class of Premium IOL. The Accommodative (Crystalens®) IOL and Multifocal (ReSTOR®) IOL both function to offer less dependence on spectacles for both distance and near activities.
Each type of IOL has different features. As part of the cataract consultation, Dr. McCarty considers each patient's individual eye and overall health, activities, and lifestyle requirements in assisting her patients with their IOL choice.
What Should I Expect After My Procedure?
No bandage is needed, the eye can be used right away. Medicated eye drops are used after the surgery. Although each patient is different, the vast majority of Dr. McCarty’s patients have vision clear enough to drive just one day after surgery.
If you are experiencing symptoms of cataracts, contact our office today. We can restore your vision and help you see the world through new eyes!