As one of the most common surgical procedures performed today, it is likely that you or someone you know will have cataract surgery at some point in your life. Luckily, it is also one of the safest procedures and advances in technology continue to improve results.
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes clouded, obscuring vision. The lens behaves much like the lens of a camera, focusing light that enters the eye. As we age, the lens becomes thicker and can develop protein buildup that blocks light. This can have many causes. Cataracts develop over time due to age, but they can also be caused by injury, certain medications, or certain medical conditions.
Some people are more likely to be affected by cataracts than others. Diabetic adults are 2-5 times as likely to develop cataracts as others their age. Exposure to UV rays and sunlight in excess can also increase risk of cataracts (don’t forget your sunglasses). Smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity are all contributing risk factors for cataracts as well as overall poor health. And because cataracts are often a result of the body’s aging process, people over the age of 60 are more likely to be affected.
What does the world look like through cloudy lenses? There are several telltale symptoms that you may experience if you have cataracts:
- Trouble differentiating between colors (such as two black socks)
- Colors fading or yellowing
- Cloudy or foggy vision
- Halos around headlights or lamps
- Difficulty with night vision
If you’re a candidate for cataract surgery, your cloudy lens will be replaced with an artificial intraocular lens or IOL during the procedure.
Beginning the Journey
How do you know you’re ready for cataract surgery? In most cases, your optometrist will recommend that you schedule an evaluation. Some people don’t realize they have cataracts until they see their doctor for annual vision exam. During your cataract evaluation, your eyes will be dilated to allow the doctor to assess the cataract and the health of your eye. If you are a candidate for surgery, you’ll be scheduled for further evaluations.
One of your preoperative appointments will include ASCAN testing, which provides a set of highly accurate measurements of your eye. This helps Dr. LoBue choose the right lens for you. Dr. LoBue and his team will also discuss your health history and what you can expect from the procedure.
Customizing Your Cataract Procedure
One of the great things about cataract surgery is how many advances in technology there have been. This allows many options to choose from, from advanced lenses to laser surgery.
Dr. LoBue is a great believer in providing the newest technology to his patients. For this reason, he was one of the first cataract surgeons in the area with the LensX laser. This laser technology uses high resolution OCT imaging to map every detail of the eye. Since each person’s eyes are unique, this allows for a precision laser surgery with the best results. For even greater accuracy, Dr. LoBue also makes available the ORA (Optiwave Refractive Analysis) System. This state of the art technology provides continuous measurement during the procedure, allowing Dr. LoBue to make adjustments as needed. With this real time analysis, ORA allows for the most accurate lens selection. The ORA System helps ensure the highest quality care and the best vision.
There are also many types of intraocular lenses, or IOLs, to choose from. The traditional single focus IOL was the only option available in the past, which required patients to wear glasses after the procedure. This is still a good option for many people, but there are now advanced lenses available which eliminate the need for glasses. There are also IOLs, such as the Toric IOL, which correct astigmatism. Depending on your lifestyle and medical history, an advanced premium intraocular lens may be the right choice for you.
Are You Ready?
Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most successful procedures performed today. And because of the great advances in technology that are available, it’s also one of the most accurate. With almost 25 million Americans affected by cataracts, that’s a relief. Dr. LoBue and his team are happy to help you through the cataract surgery process.