4 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery has undergone revolutionary growth and change in the past fifteen years. As baby boomers move into their 60s and 70s, we are seeing an increase in the number of cataract procedures performed. In addition, since this age group is so much more active than their parents were at this age, they are requiring more and more from their cataract procedure. Below is a short list of the most common questions about cataract surgery that we hear, as well as a video that shares more detail about laser cataract surgery.
1. Does everyone develop a cataract? Yes, if we are lucky enough to live into our 90s, every human lens will become a cataract. That does not mean that every eye needs surgery, but the effects of reaching that age are expected.
2. Where in the eye is the cataract? It is actually the lens of the eye that becomes the cataract. Starting in our 30s, the lens begins to very gradually change in thickness, color and flexibility. It is the early stages of this change that results in our need for reading glasses in our mid 40s. As we age through our 60s and beyond, the lens becomes more yellow, then brown and inflexible. It is at this stage that we begin to call it a cataract. The decision to remove this lens is one made between the doctor and the patient and typically correlates to increased difficulty with daily tasks such as driving at night or seeing the television.
3. What options are there for lens replacement? Here is the area in which we have seen the most change. Cataract surgery with an intraocular lens implant (IOL) has been performed for over 30 years with tremendous success. Traditionally, the IOL placed in the eye at the time of surgery has been a single vision lens, that still left the patient needing glasses (usually bifocals) after surgery. The last fifteen years have seen all of this change. Now, there are both accommodating and multifocal implants available, so that the goal can now not just be removal of the cataract, but decreasing or eliminating the need for eyeglasses of any type. This is a very exciting time to work in this area!
4. How do I find out if I have a cataract? Regular eye exams, performed either every year or every other year depending on your age, is the best way to diagnose this problem. The Advanced Ocular Analysis (AOA) that we perform at Katzen Eye Group, not only can pick up a cataract years before you will ever notice it, but the same holds true for glaucoma, macular degeneration and numerous other conditions. The importance of a good regular eye exam cannot be overemphasized.