Laser Cataract Surgery
& Lens Implants
Cataracts are a problem experienced by a great number of people just like you. Cataracts are a common cause of vision problems among people in their 50s and 60s and they are actually a major cause of senior eye problems and vision loss. More than 20 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts and more than half of all Americans develop cataracts by age 80. A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye preventing light rays from passing through it easily. This results in a clouding and blurring of vision. For many patients, cataracts start slowly and have little effect on vision at first. But, as the cataract becomes denser, so does the impact on vision.
Symptoms of Cataracts
If you are developing a cataract or already have cataracts you may experience symptoms such as a clouding or blurring of your vision and perhaps feel that you might need a change of eyeglasses. You may notice that it is not as easy to see well and comfortably in dim illumination, such as for night driving. You may notice that colors look faded and you may be bothered by glare, haloes, light sensitivity, and a continuing decrease in your vision. These are the visual symptoms that are common for those patients whose crystalline lens has clouded and formed a cataract. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms please be sure to let your eye doctor know at your eye exam.
People who develop a cataract often experience some common symptoms that may include:
- Blurring or Clouding of Vision
- Glare or Light Sensitivity
- Poor Night Vision
- Double Vision in One Eye or a Shadowy Image
- Needing Brighter Light to Read
- Fading or Yellowing of Colors
About Cataract Surgery
During cataract surgery, we remove the cataract and replace it with a clear permanent lens implant (IOL) to correct your vision. Among seniors and “baby boomers,” cataract surgery is one of the safest, most effective, predictable, and most common operations performed in the U.S with more than 2.5 million people having cataract surgery and lens implants each year. At Mitchell & Morin Eye Institute our cataract surgeons Dr. John Mitchell, Dr. Emily Morin, and Dr. Jacquelyn Weber utilize a “small incision no stitch no patch” technique and typically perform the cataract operation and lens implant surgery on an outpatient basis which offers comfortable and convenient same-day surgery.
The Cataract Surgery Procedure
Preparation for your cataract operation will begin with a few sets of drops being placed in your eye to dilate your pupil. Additionally, your eye will be treated with anesthetic drops to numb the surface of your eye so that you will feel little if any discomfort during your cataract surgery. In addition, you will be given medicines to help you relax. The entire procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes and is not uncomfortable.
About Laser Cataract Surgery
- Creating “perfect” incisions without using a blade or knife-in terms of size and architecture, which is important to have the incision seal properly without the use of stitches and to prevent infection.
- Creating a perfectly centered and sized “capsulotomy”, which is the “opening” prepared in the front of the crystalline lens through which the cloudy lens material is removed.
- Liquefying, softening, or “chopping” the crystalline lens, allows the cloudy material to be removed to deliver a gentler eye surgery procedure.
- Creating the possibility of precisely sized and placed corneal incisions, such as might be performed with Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRI), to correct pre-existing astigmatism.
Laser cataract surgery allows our eye surgeons to deliver several skill-intensive steps of cataract surgery in a safe, more precise, and gentler manner. This increased safety and accuracy may lead to even further improvements in the clinical results.
About Lens Implants
Secondary Lens Implant Surgery
Secondary Intraocular Lens Implant Surgery is necessary when a patient’s original intraocular lens implant from cataract surgery is no longer functioning appropriately. Rarely, the original lens implant shifts “out of position” and causes decreased vision. Sometimes this happens after an injury to the eye such as blunt trauma, but sometimes, the implant shifts spontaneously. Although this is uncommon, when the lens implant becomes dislocated, a new intraocular lens implant is required. Dr. Weber has training and experience with multiple types of secondary intraocular lens surgical techniques, including the latest technique pioneered by Shin Yamane (Yamane Technique). This new surgery does not require sutures and improves vision quicker and with less discomfort than traditional techniques. Should you require Secondary Intraocular Lens Implant Surgery, Dr. Weber would be happy to discuss your various options.
What Happens After Surgery?
It is recommended that you return home after your surgery and avoid any strenuous activity for the remainder of the day. You can watch TV, do some light reading, and eat whatever you feel up to. You should avoid any lifting and exposure to dirty or dusty environments. Do not drive for the remainder of the day. It is quite common for vision to be blurred on the day of surgery and to experience some mild scratchiness or irritation. Significant pain is unusual and warrants a call to our office. We will arrange to see you within 24 hours of your cataract and lens implant procedure so we can examine you to confirm that you are healing and seeing as planned. We will also prescribe some eye drops for you to use and may ask you to wear a protective shield, mainly at night, to remind you not to accidentally rub your eye. Although each patient will heal a little bit differently, the majority of patients having cataract surgery with Drs. Mitchell, Morin, and Weber can see well enough to return to their routine daily activities within a day or so after their procedure. Our staff can further advise you on resuming activities at your 1-day postoperative appointment.
About YAG Laser Capsulotomy
In up to approximately 30% of patients having cataract surgery, a specific complication called Posterior Capsular Opacification (PCO) may develop that can cause blurry vision, glare, haloes, and even double vision. YAG Laser Capsulotomy is a type of laser eye surgery that’s used to treat this specific complication which occurs when the lens capsule which is left in place to support the placement of the permanent clear lens implant becomes clouded. The complication may occur a few weeks after cataract surgery, but also could take years before it appears. The YAG Laser Capsulotomy procedure is quick, painless, and involves no surgical restrictions afterward.