What are Cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye so that the lens is no longer crystal clear thus causing impaired vision. Cataract surgery is performed to improve vision by replacing the clouded lens with an artificial one. Cataracts affect millions of people in the United States each year. Most cataracts are the result of aging, though some form as a result of genetic factors, disease or injury. Cataract surgery is common and considered safe and effective. Dr. Aizuss, Ophthalmologist servicing Encino & West Hills CA, can treat your cataracts!
Reasons For Cataract Surgery in West Hills and Encino, CA
Cataracts can cause blurry vision, and increase the glare from lights. In their early stages, cataracts usually are not troublesome but, as they get worse over time, surgery to remove them may be required. Typically, surgery is needed because cataracts are interfering with everyday activities, or for the treatment of another eye problem.
Cataracts caused by aging develop gradually, and patients may not notice the early vision changes they cause. It is only when their cataracts start interfering with the vision that patients may become aware of them. An ophthalmologic examination will detect cataracts, and rule out other causes for vision issues, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. Patients who become aware of visual difficulties related to cataracts usually experience, especially at night, clouded, blurred or dim vision. Cataracts as they get denser cause a yellowing or brownish cast to colors that patients rarely appreciate until one cataract has been removed. Then they often exclaim that they did not realize they were no longer seeing colors in their true color.
Benefits Of Cataract Eye Surgery
Cataract surgery’s benefits are many, greatly enhancing the quality of life. They include the following:
- Improved quality of vision (sharper images, brighter colors)
- Less difficulty with routine tasks (particularly night driving)
- Decreased dependency on eyeglasses
- Greater independence, regardless of age or disability
- Greater safety
Research indicates that the improved vision provided by cataract surgery reduces the risk of falls, making exercise, sports, and hobbies safer. This, combined with the improved ability to read, recognize faces, and perform everyday activities with greater ease, results in improved physical health, increased sociability, and longer life expectancy. In fact, even in elderly patients with dementia, cataract surgery has been demonstrated to improve quality of life and connectivity with the outside world.
The Cataract Surgery Procedure
After the pupil is dilated, and the area in and around the eye is numbed with anesthetic eye drops or gel, a tiny incision is made to insert an ultrasonic probe. The probe emulsifies (breaks up) the cloudy lens into tiny pieces that are then suctioned out of the eye. Once the cloudy lens has been removed, an artificial lens is implanted. In some circumstances, parts of the cataract surgical procedure can now be performed with a femto laser which may result in decreased use of ultrasound energy in the eye.
The new lens, known as an intraocular lens (IOL), is inserted through the original incision. Some varieties of IOLs serve multiple purposes, such as blocking ultraviolet light or working as multifocal lenses. We will discuss with you the various intraocular lens implant options ranging from those covered by Medicare and private insurance to those that may cost extra and are not covered by Medicare or private insurance. In most cataract surgeries, we do not use sutures.
Surgery is always performed on an outpatient basis in our outpatient surgery center in West Hills or Encino, CA. The procedure generally takes less than 20 minutes and is painless. Patients are generally at the surgery center from start to finish for about two hours. Most patients report dramatically improved vision after cataract surgery.
The ORA System
Although cataract surgery is a common procedure and considered quite safe, any surgery poses risks. In the case of cataract surgery, there is a slightly increased risk of retinal detachment. Other risks of cataract surgery include inflammation or infection. Rarely there can be increased pressure in the eye or glaucoma. The risk of complications after cataract surgery is greater if the patient has another eye disease or serious medical condition. Danger signs of complications after cataract surgery include significantly increased pain in or redness of the eye, light flashes or floaters, diminishing vision, nausea or vomiting. You will receive instructions on what to expect following your surgery and how to reach us in case of an emergency.
Recovery from Cataract Surgery
Immediately after surgery, vision may be blurry and the eye may feel scratchy. There may be a protective eye shield or patch but often a shield is only worn at bedtime for two to three days, if at all. Some itching and discomfort may be present for a few days, but it is important that a patient not rub or exert pressure on the treated eye. Heavy lifting should be avoided. Eye drops to prevent inflammation, infection and retinal swelling are prescribed. Even though full healing can take up to 6 weeks, because cataract surgery is performed on one eye at a time, daily activities can be resumed usually by the next day. Most patients need to wear eyeglasses, for at least some tasks, after surgery. If the other eye also has a cataract, which is often the case, the second surgery may be scheduled as soon as one week after the first. Some patients prefer a week off between their two eye surgeries, others may prefer longer. Any eyeglasses needed will be prescribed as soon as the week after surgery.
Dr. David Aizuss from Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley proudly provides, Encino, West Hills, Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Sherman Hills, and Reseda, CA with cataract surgery. Call today for your consultation at (818) 907-1038 or complete a Contact Form here!