We want you to know that we understand what an important decision it is to have cataract surgery, and that we appreciate your confidence and trust. Be assured that we will always provide the most current, state-of-the-art, clinical and surgical techniques available today.
Dr. Aman Shukairy is a board certified ophthalmologist and glaucoma and anterior segment specialist. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, as well as an active member in American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. She is also a member of the Michigan Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons.
Symptoms of Cataracts
• Dimming and blurring of vision
• Halos around lights at night
• Increased glare
• Double vision
• Frequent changes or cleaning of glasses
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a slow, progressive clouding of the eye’s natural lens. It interferes with light passing through the eye to the retina. Cataracts are caused by a change in the proteins of the eye, which causes clouding or discoloration of the lens. Over time cataracts typically result in blurred or fuzzy vision and sensitivity to light. People with progressed cataracts often describe the sensation as looking through a piece of wax paper. Once the lens opacifies, usually due to aging, light rays become obstructed and vision becomes dim and hazy. When this occurs, it is called a cataract. Heredity, disease, injury, and medications can also play a role in the development of cataracts. A cataract may make light from the sun or a lamp seem too bright, causing glare. Colors may not appear as bright as they once did, however, most cataracts develop so slowly that people usually don’t realize that their color vision has markedly deteriorated. Oncoming headlights may cause uncomfortable glare at night, making driving more difficult.
About Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure typically performed in a surgery center, which does not require any hospital stay. The procedure takes approximately 20 minutes. Your surgeon may use local and/or intravenous anesthesia as well as eye-numbing medications. During the procedure, your surgeon will make a tiny incision in the cornea, the clear covering over the colored part of your eye. Using a high-frequency ultrasound probe, the surgeon will break up the cloudy lens into tiny pieces and then use a suction to remove the pieces. This process is called phacoemulsification. This technique allows for a smaller incision, quicker healing time and reduced risk of complications. After removing the cloudy cataract, the surgeon will insert an intraocular lens (IOL) in its place. The procedure is complete once the small incision is closed. This is a self-healing incision and does not require the need for stitches, allowing for a very quick recovery.
What is an Intraocular Lens?
When the clouded lens is removed during cataract surgery, a replacement lens is needed to restore focus to the eye, these lenses are called intraocular lenses (IOLs). Prior to surgery, the patient’s eye is measured to determine the prescription of the IOL needed for the patient to achieve the best possible vision. The IOL is then surgically implanted in the same chamber that once housed the natural lens of the eye. It was with the advent of foldable IOLs that phacoemulsification became the best way to remove cataracts, because foldable IOLs could be injected through the same micro incision used to remove the cataract, thus making small incision surgery possible.
Once you’ve decided to proceed with cataract surgery, your eyes will be measured to determine the best power of lens that will be implanted. There are several intraocular lens choices that are important for you to consider, and we recommend you inform your surgeon if you are interested in any of the premium lens options:
Monofocal lens: This standard lens provides a single focus when you are not wearing eyeglasses. Usually, your lens will be set to focus at a distance. You will still need glasses for reading or other activities that require close-up vision.
Toric lens: For patients with astigmatism, the best lens choice is a toric lens – a customized lens that not only corrects your vision, but can also correct the astigmatism in your eye. Toric lenses are an upgrade in cost, but they will provide quality vision with decreased dependency on eyeglasses, as they can remove all astigmatism in 99% of all cases.
Multifocal lens: For patients experiencing the symptoms of presbyopia, a multifocal lens can potentially reduce your dependence on glasses for many daily tasks, such as driving, reading and using a computer. Multifocal lenses are an upgrade in cost, but they will provide quality vision with decreased dependency on eyeglasses for all distances.
How Will I Know When I’m Ready for Cataract Surgery?
The decision to have cataract surgery is best left up to the patient. For the active retiree or working person who depends on sharp vision to carry out their daily tasks, the decision to have cataract surgery might be made sooner, but generally patients decide to have cataract surgery when they begin to have trouble reading, watching television, or driving a car. Some cataracts are slow to form while others mature in only a matter of months. Your doctor can give you an estimate as to when your cataracts might be ready for surgery.