At the Cornea and Laser Eye Institute, our goal in cataract surgery is to give you the best vision possible. Given our years of experience in LASIK and refractive surgery, we are able to merge these techniques in many cases to optimize your result. Cataract patients, for instance, may undergo LASIK or other procedures to enhance vision after cataract surgery. In addition, we offer the latest in intraocular lens designs such as specialized lens implants to correct astigmatism and also to give a longer range of focused vision from reading to driving.
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye as you age. The natural lens is normally clear. As a cataract develops, the lens becomes more cloudy, yellow, and opacified, blocking light and a clear image from entering the eye. A cataract is painless and develops over time, causing progressive loss of vision.
When is Cataract Surgery Needed?
Cataract surgery is generally an elective procedure. If your vision is good enough to drive safely, read, and perform your normal day-to-day activities, surgery may not be needed right away. Cataract surgery will not correct other causes of decreased vision, such as glaucoma, diabetes, or age-related macular degeneration.
The Cataract Procedure:
At the Cornea and Laser Eye Institute, we offer laser-assisted cataract surgery, the latest innovation in the technique. Cataract surgery should be entirely comfortable for you. Though you are awake during the procedure, your eye is numbed with anesthesia. In general, during cataract surgery, a small incision is first made. This incision will either be made manually or with a laser. Dr. Hersh uses the laser technique for most patients. The lens is then removed by a process called phacoemulsification, whereby an ultrasound device allows the lens material to be meticulously aspirated by suction thru the small entry port. In the laser-assisted technique, the lens is first prepared by the laser to facilitate its removal.
The laser used is called a femtosecond laser (LensX). This type of laser uses ultra-short laser pulses to prepare the eye for cataract surgery. In the below animated video, you can see the differences between standard manual extraction and laser-assisted cataract surgery.
After the lens is removed, an artificial lens, called an intraocular (IOL) or implant, is placed within the remaining membrane (or bag) of the original natural lens. There are many styles of IOL’s and the specific one best for your situation will be reviewed with you.
Monofocal implants: These are meant to achieve clear focus at distance vision. Often, we will use a blended vision approach in which one eye is set closer to the near point to help in some near vision tasks.
Astigmatism-correcting (toric) implants: These are helpful in patients with astigmatism, in order to improve uncorrected vision without glasses
Multifocal implants: These IOL’s improve near vision in addition to distance vision. However, some patients may find that distance vision is not as crisp as with a monofocal lens. Also, some patients will notice halo or glare around lights at night. New types of lenses by give even better results.
We will discuss which lens is best in your case and what you may expect from the different lens designes.
Cataract surgery at The Cornea and Laser Eye Institute is performed in a same day ambulatory surgery facility. The procedure takes approximately thirty minutes and is performed with local anesthesia on an outpatient basis.
Prior to the procedure, you will need to go to your primary care physician for medical clearance. After surgery, your eye will be covered by a patch and eye shield. These will be removed when you see us the day after surgery, and we will then start your medicated eyedrops. Vision should improve soon after surgery but may fluctuate for a week or two. We will see you back for follow-up during this time period, as well as 1 month and 3 months after surgery.
Correcting Vision after Cataract Surgery
Sometimes additional vision correction is helpful after cataract surgery. That is why we offer programs which include laser LASIK and PRK “touch-ups” to fine tune your vision after your cataract/implant procedure. These are options that we will discuss when we see you for your cataract evaluation.