Cataracts – A Natural Effect of Aging
The eye’s natural crystalline lens helps us focus on people and things at varying distances. Unfortunately, as we grow older this lens hardens, and without its youthful suppleness, loses its ability to focus, creating vision problems. This condition, a natural consequence of aging, is called presbyopia. Some people begin experiencing the early effects of presbyopia (such as gradual loss of near vision) in their mid-40s.
As we age, these changes occurring to the natural crystalline lens will lead to the development of cataracts. By age 65, a large percentage of us will develop a cataract, most often typified by cloudy/fuzzy vision. With a cataract, you may have difficulty seeing in extremely bright light or low-light conditions.
Actual Patient Review
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a cloudiness of the eye’s natural lens, the transparent film that focuses the images as seen by the eye on the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye. As we age, proteins in the eye can form clumps, and these clumps create the clouding of the lens. This cloudiness develops slowly, but eventually affects vision, particularly at night. There is no cure for cataracts; surgery to replace the clouded lens is the only treatment.
How Common Are Cataracts?
In the U.S., over 22 million people over the age of 40 have cataracts. As we age as a nation, it is expected that number will rise to over 30 million by 2020. Cataracts are very common in older people: it’s estimated that by the time a person in the U.S. turns 80 they have a 50/50 chance of either having cataracts or will have already undergone surgery to remove them.
What are the Symptoms of a Cataract?
Cataracts do not cause any pain, and because they develop so slowly a person may not even know the condition has been progressing until his or her vision is impacted. These are the typical symptoms:
- Blurry vision
- Trouble with night vision
- Fading color vision
- Increased sensitivity to glare
- Halos surrounding lights
- Double vision in the affected eye
- A need to frequently change eyeglass prescriptions
- A feeling as if there is a film over the eye
Understanding Cataract Surgery
See What Our Patients Are Saying:
“Dr Steven Thom and his staff rate a 10+ out of 10 for cataract surgical care.
As an active senior, I followed Dr Thom’s advice to have the “Technis Symfony Multifocal lens”. This lens gives you great medium and distance vision. I could not be happier and my pickleball game is great!
I highly recommend Dr Thom and staff at Thom Eye and Laser Clinic.”
– Ron M.
How Can Cataract Surgery Improve My Vision?
Developing a cataract doesn’t mean a permanent loss of vision quality, or having to give up the things you love, because cataract surgery is a safe, effective way to improve your vision. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in the United States, with well over 2 million Americans having the procedure every year. Performed almost exclusively on an outpatient basis, cataract surgery is microsurgery, whereby the natural lens is removed and replaced with what is called an intraocular lens (IOL).
How Successful Is Cataract Surgery?
The procedure is highly successful and most people regain very good distance vision, somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40.
Cataract Surgery is performed at the state-of-the-art Center for Special Surgery located in Fargo. This modern outpatient surgical facility has fully equipped operating rooms and private recovery space to make your procedure as comfortable as possible. Dr. Thom has provided over 5,000 successful eye surgery procedures.
What To Expect During Recovery
Full healing after cataract surgery can take up to two months, but since you only have cataract surgery on one eye at a time, you can return to daily activities in just a few days. There will be some itching and discomfort, but it is important not to rub or exert pressure on the treated eye.
Heavy lifting needs to be totally avoided, as it puts pressure on the eyes. We will give you eye drops to prevent inflammation and infection and to control the pressure inside your eye. Your vision may be blurry at first, but it rapidly improves within a few days. Some patients have incredibly good vision almost immediately.
If you are interested in cataract surgery in Fargo, ND, please give us a call at (701) 235-5200 today!
Cataract Surgery FAQs:
When Should I Seek Treatment For My Cataracts?
If left to develop, cataracts will continue to cause the person’s vision to deteriorate. Cataracts are the most common cause of blindness worldwide. The question of when to come see us at Thom Eye and Laser is a personal one. You will notice your vision becoming more and more cloudy. It will seem as if you’re seeing the world through a dirty window.
Where Will I Notice Deterioration?
You will probably notice the deterioration first at night: night driving will become more challenging, as lights will develop halos around them and glare will affect you more. As these issues start to impact your quality of life, it’s time to come see us about your cataracts.
Can I Drive After My Surgery?
You cannot drive after your surgery. First, you have had anesthesia. Second, one eye will be covered with an eye patch. Also, when you get home, you need to have someone stay with you for a few hours as you adjust after surgery.
Will I Have To Wear A Patch After Surgery?
Immediately after your surgery, you will have an eye patch. We will also provide a protective shield to wear when sleeping. Depending on your situation, we may have you wear the patch for a few days after your surgery, but this is not for a long period.
Can I Treat Cataracts & Glaucoma At The Same Time?
You can have cataract surgery if you have glaucoma. In addition to removing the cataract-clouded lens, it is also possible to perform a minimally invasive type of glaucoma surgery at the same time as your cataract procedure. This can lower the high pressure inside your eye that is the result of glaucoma. Bottom line, your cataract surgery may help reduce the medications you need for glaucoma, or, in a best case, it may eliminate the need for those medications.
Can Cataracts Come Back?
They cannot. Cataracts form on your natural eye lens. Once cataract surgery removes that clouded lens and replaces it with an artificial IOL, cataracts cannot re-form. Artificial lenses do not form cataracts.
Will I Need Glasses After My Cataract Surgery?
This depends on your choices. If you opt to have standard intraocular lens (IOL) implantation, these lenses usually only handle one focal distance, either for distance vision or up-close vision. If you choose a standard IOL then you will likely need glasses for the other vision that the lenses don’t correct. However, there are more and more choices of premium implantable lenses called multifocal IOLs and accommodating IOLs that can enable you to see with incredible clarity at all or most distances. With these new lenses you can be glasses-free for most, if not all, of the time.