A cataract affects the lens of the eye by clouding it and affecting vision. The lens of the eye is made mostly of water and protein. The protein keeps the lens clear so that light can pass through it. The aging process can cause the protein to clump together and cloud the lens. As the cataract grows, the lens gets cloudier.
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What You Need to Know About Cataract Surgery
It is not guaranteed that you need cataract surgery simply because you have a cataract. If your cataract is hindering you from living a productive and active life, then you may need surgery. Cataract surgery is recommended if there are noticeable changes in your vision.
In some cases, you may just need prescription glasses, but as the cataracts grow, they can cause symptoms such as double vision and blurred vision. You may also experience poor night vision and sensitivity to the sun’s glare, in which case you may need cataract surgery.
Signs That You Need Cataract Surgery
Older people are most susceptible to cataracts and they get worse with time. If you start having difficulties with basic daily activities like reading, driving, or visual acuity in bright light, changes in color vision, and ghosting of images, you probably need cataract surgery. In some cases, cataracts are present at birth, and these congenital cataracts lead to blindness in children.
Cataract surgery is typically a straightforward procedure. It usually takes about 20 minutes or less and is performed on an outpatient basis. To prepare the eye for surgery, we apply a topical anesthetic to the surface of the eye and administer local anesthesia to numb the eye’s interior structures. This makes the procedure as comfortable for our patients as possible.
Next, a self-healing micro-incision is made where the cornea and the conjunctiva (the white of the eye) meet, allowing access to the clouded lens. Because the incision is less than 3 mm in length, the eye’s natural internal pressure keeps the incision closed following surgery. Therefore, the incision will heal without the need for stitches.
To remove the clouded lens, we insert a needle-thin ultrasound probe into the lens capsule. The ultrasound waves of the probe fragment the clouded lens. Then we use the probe to aspirate, or suction, the lens out of the lens capsule. After the clouded lens has been successfully removed, we insert an intraocular lens (IOL) into the lens capsule, carefully positioning it for optimal performance. An IOL performs the same function as a healthy natural lens.
Finally, topical anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics are administered to promote healing of the eye and reduce the risk of infection.
After Cataract Surgery
Following cataract surgery, your vision will be temporarily impaired. It is therefore necessary to make arrangements for someone to drive you home. We recommend that you rest for the remainder of the day after the procedure. There may be some minor discomfort, such as redness or an itchy sensation. Such discomfort is normal and should subside within a few days.
Full recovery from cataract surgery can take anywhere from two to six weeks, depending on the patient. Some patients notice improved sight within a few days following surgery; others do not notice an improvement in their vision for several weeks.
Ultimately, cataract surgery results in clearer vision and may even correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, depending on the type of IOL you choose.
Contact Cape Fear Eye Associates for Cataract Surgery
If you are in need of cataract surgery, our North Carolina eye centers in the Fayetteville area can provide you with high-quality, state-of-the-art surgical treatment to successfully remove your cataracts and restore your vision.
To schedule an appointment with one of our ophthalmologists call 910-484-2284.