Is your vision cloudy or fuzzy — like you are looking through a foggy window? You might have cataracts, which are one of the most common vision-related problems in aging adults. If you are struggling with daily tasks, such as reading or driving, because of cataracts, Eye Physicians of Lancaster can help. We are the leading practice of choice for people seeking safe and effective cataract surgery in Lancaster, Pa., and the surrounding areas.
A cataract is the clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. Cataracts are usually age-related, and develop due to chemical changes that occur in the lens to make it less transparent. Over time, proteins in the lens clump together, preventing light rays from passing clearly through the eye’s lens. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma to the eye, medications (such as certain types of steroids), systemic diseases (such as diabetes) and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light. Some cataracts are congenital and present at birth.
Cataracts range in severity. They may be so mild that vision is hardly affected, or so severe that no shapes or movements can be seen (only light or dark). When cataracts progress to the point where the loss of vision affects daily life, they must be removed through an outpatient surgical procedure.
The typical symptom of cataract formation is a slow, progressive and painless decrease in vision. Other changes include blurring of vision, glare (particularly at night), frequent changes in eyeglass prescription, a decrease in color intensity, yellowing of images and double vision.
In addition to age-related cloudiness, the lens also becomes harder and less flexible over time. As the lens gets harder, some people with farsightedness (hyperopia) find their distance vision improves and they are less dependent on glasses. However, people with nearsightedness (myopia) usually experience a decline in their distance vision. Some types of cataracts affect distance vision more than reading vision, while others affect reading vision more than distance vision.
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures at our practice and throughout the country. Our team performs many hundreds of cataract removal procedures annually. The operation is comfortable, and often lasts about 10 minutes. The results in our patients are overwhelmingly successful. Most people see an improvement in their vision and quality of life within one to three days of the procedure.
During cataract surgery, the eye’s natural, cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens to restore clear vision. A high-frequency ultrasound device is used to carefully break up the cloudy lens into small pieces; the pieces are gently removed from the eye with suction. Then, a clear intraocular lens is inserted into the eye in the spot previously occupied by the natural lens.
The typical surgery includes removal of the cataract, clearing of the lens capsule and placement of the clear intraocular lens implant into the capsule. However, 10 to 30 percent of cataract patients experience a delayed clouding in the posterior lens capsule. When this happens, the surgeon must use a laser to make a small opening in the posterior capsule to restore normal vision. This procedure is called a posterior capsulotomy; it is painless and only takes a minute or two. Vision usually improves within minutes.
If you feel the effects of cataracts in your daily life, Dr. K can help. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to discuss cataract surgery in Lancaster with our team. Call (717) 735-6700 to make an appointment.