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What is a cataract?

A cataract is usually the result of the natural aging process. As you get older, the natural lens, located behind the iris of the eye, may gradually begin to get “cloudy” and interfere with light and images getting to your retina. As the lens becomes cloudier, your vision slowly becomes more blurred. If allowed to remain, the cataract will progress to the point where there could be a complete loss of vision. Surgery is the only way to remove the effects of a cataract by removing it and replacing it with an artificial lens.

 

What causes cataracts?

The most common causes are:

  • Natural aging process of the lens which is most common
  • Trauma to the eye, even if it happened as a child
  • Certain medications
  • Certain retina treatments

 

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Lights appear too bright and/or present a glare or halo
  • Poor night vision
  • Double vision
  • Colors seem faded
  • Increased nearsightedness – increasing the need to change eyeglass prescriptions
  • Cloudy/hazy vision

Often in the condition’s early stages, you may not notice any changes in your vision. Since cataracts tend to grow slowly, your vision will worsen gradually. Certain cataracts can also cause a temporary improvement in close-up vision, but this is likely to worsen as the cataract grows.

 

How do I know when it’s time for cataract surgery?

A cataract is generally removed when it affects the quality of your life. Cataract surgery is accompanied by insertion of a clear, plastic intraocular lens (IOL). This lens implant has a customized prescription just for you and will dramatically improve your vision.

 

How will I know which lens implant to use?

After your dilated exam and testing, the doctor will explain which of the different types of lens implants may work best for you depending on the health of your eye, your lifestyle, and whether or not you’d like to restore your youthful vision. This is a great day and age for cataract and refractive lens exchange surgery because of advanced technologies that can actually restore your youthful vision. Many patients have eliminated the need for glasses and contact lenses after surgery.

 

How does RLE (refractive lens exchange) surgery differ from cataract surgery?

RLE and cataract surgery are virtually the same. In both instances, the natural lens of your eye is removed through a small incision made in the iris of your eye and replaced by a man-made lens that is designed to remain permanently. The only difference is that RLE is a totally elective procedure done to decrease the need for glasses; removing the cataract in cataract surgery is done for medical reasons (i.e. adequate vision cannot be achieved with glasses).

 

How do I know if I am a candidate for cataract or RLE surgery?

You may be a candidate for cataract or RLE surgery if you are bothered by:

  • Decreased night vision
  • Glare in bright sun light or during night driving
  • Impaired depth perception
  • Increased color distortion
  • Cloudy or hazy vision
  • Poor vision in dim light
  • Over 50 and want to eliminate or reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses
  • Over 50 and don’t qualify for LASIK or PRK

Contact Davies Eye Center

To request more information on Cataract Surgery or to schedule an assessment, Call us at (760) 729-7101.

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