A cataract is caused by increasing cloudiness of the eye’s lens. It is the most common cause of blindness in people over 40 years old. Over 22 million Americans have cataracts.
There are three types of cataracts, and they are categorized by the part of the lens that is first affected. A cortical cataract develops in the cortex of the lens. In a cortical cataract, the patient develops wedge-shaped opacities that start at the edges of the lens and progress towards the center. A nuclear cataract develops in the center of the lens while a subcapsular cataract develops in the back of the lens.
How Are Cataracts Treated?
In the early stages of a cataract, patients can use non-surgical methods to try to improve their vision. They can get glasses or other visual aids. Eventually, a patient’s vision will deteriorate to the point that they need surgery.
Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in the United States; over three million patients undergo cataract surgery every year. The procedure is quite reliable, and around 90 percent of patients regain vision between 20/20 and 20/40. In cataract surgery, the doctor replaces the defective lens with a precision artificial lens, or IOL. Just as there are different types of cataracts, there are different types of IOLs.
What Does Cataract Surgery Involve?
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure where the doctor surgically removes the cloudy cataract from the eye and then places the IOL in the eye. Once this process is completed, the surgeon covers the eye with a protective shield.
Cataract surgery typically takes around 90 minutes, with most of the time being spent on preparing the patient for the surgery. The patient will need someone to drive them home, and they should not try to drive until the doctor has tested their vision. The patient will have to use eye drops for several weeks after the surgery.
Who is a Good Candidate for Cataract Surgery?
Generally speaking, anybody diagnosed with cataracts with good overall health may undergo cataract surgery. However, patients who are taking medications that can cause changes in vision should wait until they are no longer taking the medication.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
To get all the facts about cataract surgery, set up a consultation at Live Oak Ophthalmology in Wilmington. Our team of experts will be happy to evaluate your unique condition and determine if this procedure is right for you. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more.