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A cataract is a common condition that causes a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, and affects millions of people each year. Cataracts cause a progressive, painless loss of vision. Patients may notice halos around lights, blurry distance and/or near vision, trouble driving at night and a blunting of colors. The lens clouds naturally as we age, causing people to see a gradual reduction of vision. Cataracts become more common as we age. The exact cause of cataracts is unknown, although related to aging. Cataracts may also be a result of injury, certain medications, illnesses (such as diabetes), prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light and smoking.
How to Diagnose Cataracts
Dr. Grandon and Dr. Kronenberg will perform a comprehensive eye examination in order to diagnose a cataract. The vision will be tested and a dilated eye exam will be performed to examine the condition of the lens and other parts of the eye. If the cataract is affecting the patients daily activities, surgery may be indicated.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Patients with cataracts often do not experience any symptoms when the condition first develops. Cataracts will continue to progress with no apparent pain. Most cataracts develop slowly. Patients may experience:
- Blurred or hazy vision
- Difficulty driving especially at night, in the rain or with bright sunlight
- Double vision in one eye
- Poor vision in bright light
- Seeing halos around lights
- Poor vision at night
- Yellowish tinged vision
- Frequent changes in eyeglasses or contact lens prescription
It is possible to have a cataract and not notice it. If the cataract is small, it may not disturb your vision or cause any symptoms at all. Even a dense cataract may not be noticed if the other eye is providing clear vision. In fact, you might not be aware of the blurred vision unless you happened to cover the normal eye. Unless it is very dense, a cataract is not visible to the naked eye of an observer. Once a cataract begins, no one can predict how fast it will develop. Generally, the clouding of the lens progresses slowly and gradually over a period of months or years. It is not known why some cataracts progress rapidly and others progress slowly.
No-Stitch Cataract Surgery
Patients can generally expect outpatient cataract surgery with little to no discomfort, performed under local anesthesia. Patients report the cataract operation greatly improves their vision and their quality of life. Patients can generally return to their daily activities quickly after the cataract operation.
At present, the only effective treatment for cataracts is surgical removal of the cloudy lens. In no-stitch surgery, a cataract is removed by making a small incision in the front of the eye. The incision is tunnel-like, and self seals when the surgery is completed, reducing recovery time. A highly sophisticated ultrasound instrument is inserted into the eye that breaks up the opaque lens into tiny fragments that are then suctioned out through the instrument’s hollow tubing.
The success of cataract surgery in restoring sight is tremendous. It is one of the most effective and safest operations performed today. The high success rate of cataract surgery is due to advances in microscope technique, high tech instruments, ultra fine needles and use of specialized intraocular lenses. Dr. Grandon and Dr. Kronenberg offer various implant options to satisfy our patients needs. The doctors offer implants to correct astigmatism (toric implants) and implants to decrease dependence on glasses for near and intermediate vision activities.
If you are interested in learning more about cataract diagnosis and treatment, call the Eye Surgery Institute at 877-393-3326 today to schedule an appointment!