What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a cloudy lens inside the eye. The lens is located just behind the iris (colored part of the eye). Cataract formation is a normal part of the aging process, but may occur at any age. As we get older, our lens becomes more opaque, decreasing the ability of light to enter the eye. Light becomes scattered by the lens, often causing glare problems in our vision. In addition to aging and genetic predisposition, the development of cataracts has been associated with certain conditions like diabetes, inflammation in the eyes, trauma, and ultraviolet exposure from the sun.
What symptoms will I have?
The most common early symptom of cataract formation is glare, especially while driving at night. Oncoming car headlights may form a starburst pattern, and halos may be seen around street lamps. Colors will slowly become less brilliant and distinct, and white objects may appear somewhat yellow. Vision will eventually become blurred, and eyeglasses may need to be changed more frequently.
What are the treatment options?
The only treatment for cataracts is the surgical removal of the lens from the eye. The cloudy lens is replaced by a clear plastic or silicone lens implant. There are no proven medical treatments that will dissolve cataracts, and if left alone, they will usually become more yellow or "dense" with time and further blur the vision. Many years ago, a cataract was only removed after it became "ripe," or densely yellow. With new advances in state-of-the-art cataract surgery, cataracts are typically removed when patients develop symptoms which interfere with comfortable visual function, rather than waiting for severe visual loss. Cataracts never "grow back" once they are removed. There are two options available: (1) a surgical incision is made with a small knife and the cataract is broken up with ultrasound or (2) a computer-guided laser system makes the bladeless incision and gently vaporizes the old, cloudy lens. Patients may also have the option of choosing lens implants that improve distance vision, reading vision, or both. Dr. Cohn is proud to offer specialty lens implants including the Alcon ReSTOR lens and Toric lens to help reduce presbyopia or astigmatism. These lenses typically offer patients greater freedom from glasses.
THE SURGICAL PROCEDURE