Cataracts are cloudiness or opacification of the crystalline lens inside the eye. The crystalline lens is the part of the eye that is responsible for the focus of objects close to the eye. This structure usually functions very well until our late thirties to mid forties. As it weakens, our ability to focus up close is diminished, leading to our need for bifocals. As we continue to age, it can become cloudy for many reasons including exposure to certain toxins, medications, ultraviolet light or poor nutrition. The severity to which the cloudiness occurs and ultimately effects vision is different for everyone. Usually cataracts do not become "visually significant" until best corrected vision is reduced to 20/40 or worse. At that time, if a satisfactory result can not be reached by making changes to ones contact lens or glasses prescription, a surgical consultation will be requested.
Cataract surgery these days, although not without it's risks, is a very quick and painless procedure with remarkable results. With the exception of the need to take eyedrops on a strict schedule for a number of days after the procedure, it is relatively straight forward. Now there are choices available regarding the type of implant available. The standard implant for single focal distance, the toric implant, also for single focal distance and finally the multifocal implant. All appropriate options with their advantages and disadvantages are discussed in our office at the time of referral and also with the surgical team as well. We are very choosy about the surgeons we refer to. We require excellent surgical technique, exceptional outcomes, pleasant "bed side manner" and clear communication back with our office. For us, it is a pleasure participating in cataract surgical care as it is usually an amazing transformation for the patient to go through visually!
Image Credit - National Eye Institute