A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens that blocks the light rays from reaching the retina and results in a gradual blurring of vision as it naturally progresses. With time, the cataract may cause difficulty with vision at both distance and near, as well as problems with glare and halos around lights. Activities such as reading may become difficult and driving could become hazardous. A change in glasses can often improve vision when the cataract is in its earlier stages, although with time glasses may no longer fully correct the vision.
The time to consider treatment is when the decline in vision is affecting your quality of life. There is no known medical treatment to prevent cataracts. People at higher risk for cataracts are those who are over 55 years old, have had eye injuries or underlying disease, have a family history of cataracts, or who use certain medications.
Cataract surgery is generally a painless outpatient procedure that takes approximately 20-30 minutes. Dr. Katz most commonly performs the "No-Stitch" procedure, which requires no needles, sutures, or patches.
Eyedrops are used to anesthetize the eye. Through a corneal incision that is less than 3.0mm, Dr. Katz then breaks up and removes the cataract using an ultrasound probe. This procedure is called phacoemulsification. The cloudy lens is replaced with an intraocular lens that is specifically chosen using measurements of your eye as well as advanced lens calculation techniques. This new lens minimizes the need for distance glasses following the surgery, allowing most patients to enjoy better uncorrected vision than before the cataract developed.
If you have been told you have cataracts, or think you may have them, call Dr. Katz for an appointment today: 212-796-4334.
Presbyopia is the condition in which the eye loses the ability to "zoom in" and focus on objects up close. It is a common condition that makes it difficult to read, typically beginning in a person's 40's and increasing gradually over the years. This condition is alleviated by the use of reading glasses, bifocals, or progressive lenses.
Monofocal Intraocular Lenses (Monofocal IOL's)
When undergoing cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and a new lens, an intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted in its place. Traditional IOL's are called monofocal IOL's, and try to minimize the need for eyeglasses at one disease. An IOL is most commonly chosen to correct the distance but then is unable to correct presbyopia. Even if eyeglasses are needed much less or even not at all for the distance, reading and computer glasses will still be needed to see well up close following placement of a traditional monofocal IOL.
Multifocal Intraocular Lenses (Multifocal IOL's)
A newer option to correct presbyopia after cataract surgery is the insertion of a multifocal intraocular lens. These lenses allow patients to see in the distance and closer up with increased freedom from glasses. Most patients find they can drive a car, play sports, work at the computer, and do some reading without reaching for their eyeglasses. Certain activities, like reading fine print or working in dim light, may still require patients to wear their reading glasses.
If you have cataracts, and are interested in more freedom from your reading glasses, ask Dr. Katz if you are a candidate for a multifocal IOL.
The ideal surface of the cornea has a spherical curve, like the shape of a basketball, allowing light rays passing through it to bend toward its center and focus on one spot. Corneal astigmatism is when the corneal surface is shaped more like a football, with flatter and steeper curves. This common condition causes the light rays entering the eye to focus on more than one spot, causing a blur. This blur can most often be corrected with spectacles or contact lenses.
If you have a cataract as well as corneal astigmatism, you may be a candidate for surgical correction of your astigmatism at the same time as your cataract surgery.
Toric Intraocular Lenses (Toric IOL's)
When undergoing cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and a new lens, an intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted in its place. Traditional IOL's clear the vision, but do not correct the underlying corneal astigmatism, so that corrective eyewear or additional surgery would be needed to reduce the blurring or distortion caused by the astigmatism. A toric intraocular lens that can correct corneal astigmatism can instead be inserted at this time, thereby treating the astigmatism and minimizing or often even eliminating the need for astigmatism correction in glasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery.