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Cataract Surgery

What are Cataracts?

Mature CataractCataracts are a very common vision issue in older adults. Cataracts are considered an inevitable part of aging, and are relatively common among adults older than 55 years of age. In fact, half of all Americans have them, or have had cataract surgery, by age 80.

A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of the eye. A normal lens is clear and focuses light to the back of the eye. As we age, the lens hardens and becomes cloudy, blocking some of the light. As a cataract develops, it becomes increasingly difficult for a person to see. Symptoms of a cataract include:

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Your cataract assessment

First you must schedule a cataract evaluation. Our Arlington Eye Center cataract surgeons can diagnose your cataract to determine the severity. Our surgeons will determine if it is time to remove the cataract.

See Your World Better, Let Arlington Eye Center Help!

If the doctors have determined that you have a cataract, the only way to solve the problem will be through cataract surgery. Do not be alarmed at this point. If any person lives long enough they will eventually develop cataracts. You will need to have a consultation with our cataract surgeons to determine how you want to see after surgery. Until recently, you could only gain vision at one distance. Nowadays, you have the option of advanced technology lens implants that can help you see at near, far and intermediate distances. These intraocular lenses are known as premium lens implants. If you and your Arlington Eye Center surgeon decide that this is the best option, you will talk with our staff and determine if your insurance will cover part of this lens implant.

Healthy Lens/Cataract

What happens in cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery has evolved tremendously over the last 25-30 years. Healing times have been drastically reduced and patients go home the same day as the surgery. Please read below to get a better understanding of cataract surgery.

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The cataract surgery process

During cataract surgery, the natural lens of your eye is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant. The surgical process involves a small incision, microsurgical, phacoemulsification technique. This means that the cataract surgery is performed using the smallest possible incision, and removal of the lens material is accomplished using an ultrasonic needle. Once the eye has been properly dilated, the eye is then prepared with a cleaning solution. Topical anesthetic is then administered to the surface of the eye. Next, under a microscope an incision of 3 millimeters or less in length is then created at the junction of the cornea (the clear structure on the front of the eye) and the sclera (the white part of the eye). Another dose of anesthetic is then administered inside the eye through this incision. The front part of the lens envelope, known as the lens capsule, is carefully opened so that the lens material can be removed. This is accomplished using a needle-like ultrasonic device, which pulverizes the hardened and yellowed lens proteins known as the cataract. The pulverized material is simultaneously vacuumed from the eye.

Cataract Surgery

Once the cataract material has been removed a foldable (IOL) intraocular lens is then inserted through the main incision and positioned into the lens capsule. The lens will remain inside your eye in this location without moving. Intraocular lenses cannot be felt or sensed in any way by the patient. Patients can now elect to have premium lens implants during the cataract surgery process that may enable vision without glasses after surgery. Please feel free to consult one of our physicians or staff members regarding this amazing new technology.

After Cataract Surgery

Most patients are concerned about the cataract surgery recovery process. Our doctors provide the best quality care and thoroughly explain what you can expect after cataract surgery. Recovery from cataract surgery is generally very quick. Most patients obtain better vision within the first 24 hours of the procedure returning to normal activities the next day! Itching and mild discomfort are normal after cataract surgery. Some tearing discharge is also common. Your eye may be sensitive to light and touch. If you have discomfort, your doctor can suggest treatment. After one or two days, any moderate discomfort should disappear.

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Complete visual recovery varies from patient to patient but most patients return to their everyday activities within one day. If you have cataracts in both eyes, the second procedure will most likely be scheduled within a week or two. Your doctor will schedule exams to check on your progress. Each person heals differently so it is important to discuss the cataract surgery recovery with your eye doctor.