What is a cataract?
A cataract is the name given to the lens of the eye when it becomes cloudy. We are all born with a lens in our eyes. As we age, it is very common for this lens to cloud and cause a loss of vision. There is no pain associated with the condition. Some people will have blurred or hazy vision. It is not uncommon to have sensitivity to glare or the feeling of “film” over the eye.
Most people develop cataracts simply as a result of aging, with the majority of cases occurring in people over the age of 55. Over 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed with cataracts each year. Other risk factors include eye injury, a family history of cataracts, smoking, the use of steroids, and diabetes.
For people who are significantly affected by cataracts, cataract surgery may be recommended. Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure in the world. It involves removing the cloudy lens replacing it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL).
When the clear natural lens of the eye becomes clouded and the patient is not satisfied with the vision, cataract surgery is recommended. This is the only way to restore the vision once a cataract becomes visually significant. This procedure involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with a clear implant to restore the vision.
Cataract surgery is quite common and is presently very advanced with a very high success rate.
The procedure itself consists of the removal of the clouded lens through a small opening made in the cornea made by the surgeon. Most procedures done by Dr. Kalin use a newer technology called phacoemulsification. A probe is inserted into the incision and through the use of ultrasonic waves and vacuum, the cloudy lens is removed.
In nearly all cases, a new artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is placed in place of the cloudy lens. In most cases, stitches are not needed, as the incision is less than three millimeters in size.
It is not uncommon after surgery to have mild discomfort and irritation in the eye. This will usually improve in a few days. It is highly recommended that you refrain from rubbing your eyes for several weeks. Dr. Kalin will prescribe eye drops to facilitate healing. Contact the office immediately if you experience a sudden loss of vision or pain in the eye.
How is cataract surgery performed?
Dr. Kalin performs minimally invasive, small-incision, no-stitch cataract surgery called phacoemulsification (“phaco”) surgery. During this procedure, a tiny incision is made in the eye to make room for a small ultrasound probe. This probe breaks up, or emulsifies, the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The pieces are then suctioned out through the probe. Once the cloudy lens has been removed, the artificial IOL is implanted in the eye. Advanced foldable IOLs can be inserted through the same small incision that the original lens was removed from. This significantly reduces recovery times while improving safety and reducing the risk of bleeding, scarring, irritation and distortion. Toric IOLs are specially designed for patients with astigmatism.
Because of its small size, the incision can usually heal on its own without stitches. To make your procedure as painless as possible, anesthesia to the eye is usually just eye drops. Minimal IV sedation is also given to enhance your comfort. Usually no shots are needed to numb the eye.
To learn more about our Cataract Surgery and to find out if it is right for you, please call (302) 292-2020 today to schedule a consultation.