What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens in the eye which causes a gradual loss in vision in most patients. The crystalline lens is the natural lens in the human eye which helps the eye focus and see. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. A cataract can occur in either or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other. Either as a result of aging or due to trauma, exposure to certain medications, or underlying medical or genetic diseases, this natural crystalline lens can become cloudy or opaque leading to decreased vision. If this becomes the case, cataract surgery can be performed to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear intraocular lens thereby restoring clear vision.
What is the lens?
The lens is a clear part of the eye that helps to focus light, or an image, on the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. In a normal eye, light passes through the transparent lens to the retina. Once it reaches the retina, light is changed into nerve signals that are sent to the brain. The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image. If the lens is cloudy from a cataract, the image you see will be blurred.
Lens Options: Standard and Premium
If you are considering cataract surgery, there are many exciting new lens technologies available. Cataract surgery involves removal of the natural lens of the eye and replacement with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
The Standard IOL, which has been used for the past 30 years is single-focus lens. Traditionally, when cataract surgery is performed, the lens implant which is placed in the eye after removing the cataract is a single-focus lens which is most commonly made to focus the eye clearly at distance objects leaving patients needing reading glasses to see objects up close.
New advances in IOL design now allow people to achieve distance and near vision without glasses with the use of premium IOLs. Dr. Barnhorst is pleased to offer this technology with the Acrysof ReSTOR IOL.
The ReSTOR IOL uses a special optical design to allow a distance and near focus. This lens tends to work well for distance vision and near vision without glasses.
For people with astigmatism, there is exciting new IOL technology as well. The Acrysof Toric IOL has astigmatism correction built into the lens itself, and corrects mild to moderate amounts of astigmatism. It is a single-focus IOL and does not help with near vision.
Dr. Barnhorst will determine if you would be a good candidate for either of these specialty IOLs. He can then evaluate which IOL will suit your lifestyle. Additional costs associated with these IOLs are not covered by medical insurance.
What to expect following cataract surgery
Most patients have no pain or discomfort following cataract surgery. You would be seen the next morning in our office by Dr. Barnhorst and followed periodically over the next month or more. Eye drops would be used over several weeks to prevent infection and/or inflammation. You may return to normal activities right away. Final eye glass prescriptions would be determined at the one month appointment, if necessary.
If you suspect you may have cataracts, scheduling a comprehensive eye examination with Dr. Barnhorst is the best way to determine whether or not cataract surgery is right for you. Dr. Barnhorst uses the latest technology to remove your cataracts with minimal to no discomfort and, typically, very quick visual recovery.
For more information on premium IOLs, go to www.acrysofrestor.com