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Cataract Surgery, Diagnosis & Co-Management

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Cataracts is a disease of the eye that results in the clouding of the lens of the eyeball. Cataracts prevent clear images from appearing on the eye’s retina; causing mild, moderate, even severe blurred vision.

Typically an eye disorder associated with aging (over half of the people in America over age 80 have either had a cataract or cataract surgery), cataracts generally occur later in life as the lens structure within the human eye changes and gets older.

During the evaluation of your eye health, we will carefully examine your lens for signs of cataract formation. If a cataract is noticed and the clouding is causing visual disruption, our optometrist will refer you to a trusted and respected surgeon for surgery, which is the only known cure for cataracts. Advanced Eye Care Center in Northwest Phoenix will be there for you providing pre and post cataract surgery care.

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Is Cataract Surgery Right for Me?

Let’s start with the good news. Having cataracts does not mean that you need to have surgery right away, or ever - for that matter. If you do elect to have the surgery, the cataracts can be safely removed. Well over 90% of those who have had cataract surgery regain very good vision (in the range between 20/20 and 20/40 vision) and return to the quality of life and the healthy vision they had before the onset of cataracts.

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts is a common eye disease that comes on gradually and results in the clouding of the eye’s lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. You may experience common symptoms such as an increase in glare, seeing halos around lights and an overall decreased level of vision.

How do I know if I have Cataracts?

Senior Woman Smiling Glasses 1280x853The first step is to see your optometrist and undergo a comprehensive eye exam. During the exam, your eye doctor will ask you a lot of questions and perform a series of diagnostic tests. The advanced technology used during the exam includes the use of a slit lamp microscope, a high-intensity light source that shines a thin sheet of light onto the eye.

If I have Cataracts….what next?

After consultation with your eye doctor, and depending on the degree to which cataracts affect your vision, you may elect to:

  • Forego surgery and take advantage of a wide variety of alternative optical aids such as new glasses, bifocals, magnification lenses anti-glare sunglasses or other visual aids.
  • Monitor cataracts until or if your vision deteriorates to the extent that it affects your everyday life (i.e., driving, watching TV, or during sports).
  • Undergo cataracts surgery after being fully informed by your optometrist of the benefits, risks and potential complications. Did you know that cataract surgery is the most common surgery in the U.S. today, with more than 3 million such surgeries performed every year?  The surgery is performed by an eye surgeon, and is done on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia. In the surgery, your clouded lens is replaced with new, clear, synthetic lens.

If you are over 60, or if you experience any of the symptoms raised above, schedule an appointment with Dr George Johnson today.

What Happens After Cataract Surgery?

Co-Management of Cataract Surgery

After you cataract surgery is completed by an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon), your local optometrist will provide follow-up care. This post-surgery care starts the day after the surgery and usually lasts for a period between one and three months. The second examination will usually be one week later.

Your optometrist will monitor the patient, addressing any complications arising out of the surgery, and consult with the surgeon as needed. Your medications will also be monitored.

After approximately three to four weeks, when most of the healing has taken place, the optometrist will check the patient’s eye health, and also examine their vision to see if a distance prescription is needed. After cataract surgery, patients may experience discomfort or dryness, and your optometrist may apply artificial tears to increase moisture in the eye.

Overall, over 90% of cataract operations are successful in restoring everyday normal vision, with a low complication rate.

Tips to Reduce Recovery Time After Cataract Surgery

In most cases, patients will return to normal everyday life after Cataract Surgery. However, it does not happen right away, and there will be an adjustment period (usually varying from a few days to a month), as the brain learns to adjust to the new synthetic lens that has replaced the old one.

Here are some things you can do to minimize the recovery time:

  • Avoid itching or rubbing your eye to address the mild discomfort you will likely feel in the first few days after surgery.
  • Your eye doctor may ask you to wear an eye patch for several days after surgery. Doing this will both protect your eye and speed up the recovery time.
  • Most patients will require glasses with an interim prescription for the first one to three months.
  • Avoid heavy lifting or bending over, so as not to put extra pressure on the eye.
  • Avoid swimming during the first week.
  • The type of vision correction you choose after your cataract surgery depends upon your ocular condition, individual lifestyle preferences and the professional recommendation of your eye doctor. Quality vision is the objective of every cataract procedure, and there is more than one way to reach this goal!