Cataracts, clouding of the natural lens of the eye, are the leading cause of vision loss in adults age 55 and older, and the leading cause of blindness worldwide, according to the National Institutes of Health.
During non-laser cataract surgery, the patient’s natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial lens implant using traditional surgical implements and blades. Laser Cataract Surgery allows Dr. Fedyk to perform the cataract surgery without blades of any kind.
Frequently Asked Cataract Surgery Questions
What are Cataracts?
The lens in your eye is normally crystal clear, but when it becomes opaque, we call it a ‘cataract’. A cataract is NOT a film or growth that occurs in the eye, it is simply a cloudy lens. In a normal eye, light passes through the clear lens and focuses on the retina. A clouded lens or cataract causes the light to scatter across the retina.
As the opacity worsens, it prevents light from properly focusing on the retina, the light sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. Early lens changes or opacities may not disturb vision significantly. But as the lens continues to change, your vision becomes blurred and you may begin to notice glare with car headlights, haziness, and difficulty seeing street signs or reading, for example.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
- Blurry or hazy vision, or dim vision that requires brighter lights in order to read small print
- Increased glare and sensitivity to light, especially in bright sunlight or while driving at night
- A yellowing of the vision
- Distortion, double images, or ghosting of the vision
- Increased nearsightedness, requiring frequent changes in your glasses prescription
How are cataracts diagnosed and treated?
You’ll need to have a thorough examination of your eyes, including dilation and an attempt at a new glasses prescription. At first, a change in your eyeglass prescription may be all that is needed to temporarily improve your vision. When you feel that your vision affects your daily activities or your lifestyle and you desire better vision, cataract surgery should be considered. Cataracts can only be removed with surgery.
When do you need cataract surgery?
The decision is yours.
There is no single objective test to determine the need for cataract surgery. The final decision to have cataract surgery is always made by the patient, and it depends on how much the decreased vision from the cataract is bothersome.
St. Louis Cataract Surgeon Dr. Fedyk will always explain your status and options to you clearly and let you make your own decision about when to have cataract surgery.
If you are considering cataract removal surgery, here are some factors that you should think about:
Doing cataract surgery at an earlier stage makes for a quicker recovery and a technically easier surgery. Waiting until the vision is very poor can often make the surgery and the recovery more involved.
The Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles requires that drivers have 20/40 vision (with or without glasses) in their better eye to qualify for a license without an eye exam. Some patients choose to wait until their vision is approximately at this 20/40 level. However, nowadays more and more active patients who still work, drive, and use computers have higher demands for their vision. These patients tend to choose surgery at an earlier stage.
Some patients choose to have surgery even before they develop vision-blocking cataracts. For these patients, who are typically in their 50s, refractive lens surgery is performed in order to eliminate or reduce the need for glasses and to regain their near vision. With their astigmatism managed and a multi-focal lens implanted, the vast majority (92% in the official FDA study) of these patients see well at distance, intermediate, and near, and they never or just occasionally use glasses. The remaining 8% also saw quite well, but they used glasses more than just occasionally.
The bottom line is: If you’re happy with your vision and it doesn’t cause difficulties with reading, computer use, driving, working, or your active lifestyle, then you should postpone the surgery. If you want and need better vision for your activities right now, and would like to see more clearly, then schedule your surgery with top Cataract Surgeon, Dr. Adam Fedyk.
They’re your eyes, and you decide what’s best.