About Cataract Surgery
Cataracts are a very common cause of visual impairment in older adults and are considered an inevitable part of aging. Half of all Americans have cataracts or have had cataract surgery by age 80. In many cases, if a cataract does not seriously affect vision, surgery may not be recommended right away; simply adjusting the current glasses or contact lens prescriptions is the recommended step for those with mild to moderate cataracts. For most, cataracts progress slowly as we age, as does the amount of visual impairment produced by cataracts.
The cataract surgeons at Morristown Ophthalmology Associates, P.A., can help you see better after cataract surgery. We recommend that those over the age of 40 have routine eye examinations to monitor eye conditions such as cataracts, to determine the treatments necessary, whether it be cataract surgery or eyeglass prescription changes.
Vision with Cataracts
People with cataracts often have trouble driving at night and have reported that their vision is like the sensation of looking through wax paper and colors seem very dull.
Like a camera, the lens must be very clear to see well, and the human eye works much like a camera. A healthy transparent lens absorbs light and accurately focuses it onto the retina, providing a crisp clear image. As we age, the proteins within the eye begin to clump together forming opaque clusters and over time, these protein deposits eventually cloud the entire lens allowing significantly less light to pass through. The small amount of light that does make it through is scattered or diffused, leaving vision defocused. These protein clusters can also change the color of the normal clear lens into a yellowish brown color.
Traditional Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, is comfortable and offers a quick recovery. Modern-day cataract surgery makes use of a vast array of high-tech equipment and surgical techniques, and the surgeons at Morristown Ophthalmology Associates, P.A. offer the latest technology with micro-incisional cataract surgery.
Millions of people undergo this vision-improving procedure every year and achieve excellent results. Great advancements have been made in cataract surgery, and for patients, it’s a simple operation. A tiny incision is made in the eye and the surgeon inserts an instrument, about the size of a pen tip, through this incision. The surgeon uses an ultrasonic instrument that breaks up and gently removes your cloudy lens and this process is called phaecoemulsification. Once the clouded lens has been removed an artificial lens replaces it. The artificial lens implant, also referred to as an intraocular lens or IOL may be used to do the work of your own lens.
Laser Cataract Surgery
For decades, cataract surgeons have used handheld instruments to perform some of the most challenging parts of cataract surgery. The cataract surgeons at Morristown Ophthalmology Associates, P.A. are now performing these steps using two, FDA market cleared laser systems called CATALYS® and LenSx®.
Both the CATALYS® and LenSx® lasers combine a femtosecond laser, 3D imaging, sophisticated software and a number of other innovative features that make the cataract procedure gentler, highly customized, and more precise than traditional surgery.
Some of the major benefits of laser cataract surgery include:
- Laser Precision – Surgeons have the ability to create laser incisions without blades, potentially reducing astigmatism.
- Customization with 3D imaging – Incisions are more accurate due to real-time, 3D visualization that enables the surgeon to create a tailored treatment plan for your eye.
- Gentle approach – Softening the lens with the laser allows the surgeon to remove the cataract more gently and with significantly less ultrasound energy than in traditional cataract surgery. Typically, the low energy approach reduces inflammation and helps speed visual recovery.
- May decrease the need for glasses – If you desire to see well without glasses or contacts after your surgery, your treatment plan can include an artificial lens implant or intraocular lens (IOL) combined with the laser.
The laser treatment takes approximately three minutes and causes little or no discomfort to patients. Because there are various cataract surgery and intraocular lens options available, the doctors at Morristown Ophthalmology Associates, P.A. will help you decide what is best for you. A consultation with a cataract surgeon at Morristown Ophthalmology Associates, P.A. will provide you with all the information you need to make the right choices for your eyes.
Insurance Coverage for Laser Cataract Surgery
Medicare and private insurance typically cover some of the costs associated with laser cataract surgery. However, there may be out-of-pocket expenses involved. Feel free to explore the financing options available through GreenSky. Morristown Ophthalmology Associates, P.A. offers 24 months, no-interest financing, so laser cataract surgery is a viable option for all patients.
After Cataract Surgery
Most patients can go home on the same day of their surgery, but will not be able to drive, so make sure to arrange for a ride home. Your doctor may limit activities such as bending and lifting for a few days. The tiny incision will heal with no sutures required and typically your vision will start to improve within a few days. It’s normal to feel itching and mild discomfort for a couple of days after surgery, but avoid rubbing or pressing on your eye. Your doctor may prescribe medications to prevent infection and control eye pressure. After a couple of days, all discomfort should disappear. Sometimes, complete healing occurs within eight weeks depending on the size of the cataract.
If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms after cataract surgery, contact your doctor immediately:
- Vision loss
- Increased eye redness
- Pain that persists despite the use of over-the-counter pain medications
- Light flashes or multiple spots (floaters) in front of your eye
- Nausea, vomiting or excessive coughing
If you have cataracts in both eyes, your doctor will treat one eye at a time. If you or a loved one has cataracts in New Jersey, call Morristown Ophthalmology Associates, P.A. at (973) 267-1113 to schedule a cataract surgery consultation.