Cataract Center – Barnhorst Eye Associates
Aging is an inevitable part of life. As we age, it’s no surprise that our bodies change quite a bit, eyes included. There are many types of age-related eye conditions, but the most common of them all is a condition called “cataracts.” Cataracts progress slowly over a period of several years; many people don’t even realize they have cataracts. Understanding what cataracts are, knowing what to look out for, and understanding your surgical options will put you on the best track to cataract-free living.
What are Cataracts?
Inside of your eye, behind the iris (the colored part of your eye,) there is a crystal clear, flexible lens. This lens, when healthy, focuses the light that comes into your eye onto the retina. Depending on how well the lens focuses the light, your vision will be sharp or blurry. This lens must be completely clear for the best vision.
A cataract occurs when the natural lens inside of the eye begins to “fog up” and become discolored. This happens when the proteins that make up the lens begin to clump together, forming a cloudy film. This clouding allows less light inside of the eye, resulting in decreased vision. Cataracts can lead to blindness if left untreated. Luckily, cataracts are treatable at all stages.
As mentioned earlier, many people do not realize they have cataracts for a long time. It is easy to mistake cataract development for typical “old age” vision. In the early stages, it is hard to tell on your own whether your declining vision is due to refractive error (such as astigmatism) or cataract development. This is why we recommend routine eye examinations, as your eye doctor will easily be able to tell between the two.
There are a few symptoms that you will find with cataracts and not with refractive errors.Common cataract symptoms include:
- Blurry, hazy vision. Having cataracts can feel like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window.
- Light sensitivity. The sun or a lamp may seem too bright or glaring. Headlights from oncoming cars at night may produce a glare that wasn’t there before.
- Dull color. Colors may not seem as bright or vivid as before. Sometimes, you will notice a yellow tint to your vision.
- Distorted vision. Sometimes cataracts can cause “warped” vision in one area. Double vision can also occur.
- Difficulty seeing at night. Your night vision is not what it used to be, and driving at night becomes very difficult.
How are Cataracts Treated?
Once diagnosed with cataracts, Dr. Barnhorst will determine the right time for treatment. Cataracts are only treatable through cataract surgery. Luckily, cataract surgery is extremely advanced and requires little to no downtime. In order to correct vision affected by cataracts, the natural lens needs to be replaced with a new, clear lens. These artificial lenses are referred to as intraocular lenses (IOLs.) There are many different types of IOLs on the market today. You and your Jacksonville cataract surgeon will work together to determine the best IOL for your budget, visual needs and lifestyle.
Different types of IOLs provide different benefits. These types of IOLs include:
- Monofocal: These lenses have been around longer than all of our other lens options and are designed to provide good quality distance vision. The cost of cataract surgery with a monofocal implant is covered by Medicare and private insurance companies.
- Multifocal: Designed to better mimic the eye’s natural ability to change focus, multifocal IOLs provide a much greater range of vision from distance to intermediate and near vision needs.
- Toric: Blurred or distorted vision due to an irregularly shaped cornea is called astigmatism. In some cases, astigmatism can be corrected during cataract surgery but is not an option for all patients. Toric IOLs effectively eliminate astigmatism and may be better option for many people.
Cataract Surgery (We offer both traditional and laser assisted)
At Barnhorst Eye Associates, we offer both the traditional manual technique and Laser Cataract Surgery with the LenSx® femtosecond laser. You can look forward to not only restoring the vision lost due to cataracts, but to choosing an option that is best for you.
Cataract Surgery Recovery
Directly after surgery, you will have a moment to rest before going home. It is important to bring someone with you to drive you home. You will leave with the proper medications, an eye patch to wear as directed by Dr. Barnhorst, and a pair of sunglasses to wear outside during recovery.
During the healing process, it is very important to follow Dr. Barnhorst’s after-care instructions. Avoid heavy lifting, swimming, or any strenuous activity until Dr. Barnhorst gives you the “ok.”
Are you looking for an experienced, high-skilled cataract surgeon? Do you suspect you may have cataracts? Be sure to call Barnhorst Eye Associates, located in Jacksonville, FL today!