Cataract Surgery

What Are Cataracts?

The eye’s natural, clear lens sits behind the iris (colored portion) and pupil.  It works similar to a camera lens, in that it focuses light on to the retina.  As we age, this crystalline lens becomes cloudy and is then called a cataract.   Most people will develop cataracts due to age, however, cataracts can also be caused by hereditary factors, trauma, diabetes, and certain medications.

There are various types of cataracts that can cause debilitating visual symptoms, including:  nuclear sclerotic, posterior sub-capsular, and cortical cataracts.

Nuclear Sclerotic:  the most common form, typically occurring with the natural aging process.

Posterior Sub-Capsular: often occurring in patients who have suffered an eye injury, have diabetes, high far sightedness, retinitis pigmentosa, or have been treated with certain medications.

Cortical:  characterized by white or gray clefts in the lens.  Also associated with aging and diabetes.

Cataracts can cause frustration and affect function in various ways.  Cataracts may cause the appearance of “halos” around lights and glare can become extremely bothersome.  Other complaints include: generalized, blurred vision, decreased color perception/contrast sensitivity, difficulty reading, and problems when driving or other vocational/recreational activities.

The presence of cataracts is a serious condition that often starts with mild symptoms but gradually begins to interfere with daily activities.  Cataracts can also lead to increased eye pressure if they block the eyes’ natural drainage systems and do not allow fluid to flow freely between the two chambers. Individuals should get regular eye exams and tell their doctor if they are experiencing any symptoms, no matter how mild.  Early detection of cataracts is the best way to determine the most effective treatment options. The Eye Center of North Florida employs one of the most experienced cataract surgery teams in Florida.  The right technology in the right hands makes all the difference!!

Vision Before and After Cataracts

Vision before Cataract Surgery

The important thing to remember about cataracts is that although they mainly afflict those over 50 as part of the natural aging process, cataracts can occur in people of any age, including children and infants. If you are experiencing even mild vision problems such as blurriness, distortion, a foggy or hazy effect, halos or glare around lights, or problems seeing at night, you should schedule an eye exam right away.  Cataracts can sometimes present themselves as common vision conditions such as nearsightedness or farsightedness in the early stages, so it is imperative that you have your eyes examined on a routine basis.

Vision after Cataract surgery

Vision after cataract surgery is generally greatly improved, often with results that give you freedom from having to wear corrective eye wear such as glasses or contact lenses. With lens implants such as ReSTOR®  or Crystalens, the clouded natural lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial lens that can better focus light on to the retina for near, intermediate, and distance vision. Most importantly, cataract surgery is designed to completely remove the problem, stopping the progression of vision loss and resulting in the ability to see more clearly without fogginess, halos, and other symptoms.

Cataract surgery does have certain risks, just as any surgical procedure.  Our cataract surgeons take every precaution to minimize those risks, and have an extraordinary success rate with this procedure.

Is Cataract Surgery Right for Me?

In general, removing a cataract will always lead to improved vision.  Other conditions in the eye can, however, affect the visual outcome with surgery.  In order to have a complete understanding of the potential risks and benefits of surgery, the potential outcome, and to determine the proper timing for surgery, a comprehensive examination is required.  Many people delay having cataract surgery until their vision is impaired to the point of not being able to drive.  If your vision is 20/40 or worse, or if you feel that your vision is prohibiting you ability to perform normal daily tasks, you may be ready to have your cataracts removed.  To find out if Cataract Surgery is right for you, please call 850-784-3937 and ask to schedule an appointment with one of our internationally renowned cataract surgeons, Dr. Garland or Dr. Fisher.

Cataract FAQ’s

What is a Cataract?

A clouding of the natural lens of the eye that can cause blurred or dulled vision, glare sensitivity, and decreased color contrast.

What causes Cataracts?

The formation of cataracts can be caused by the following: aging, trauma, diseases such as diabetes, hereditary factors, unprotected UV exposure, or taking certain medications.

Who is at risk for Cataracts?

EVERYONE!  Cataracts typically develop around age 55 or older.  Other risk factors include: UV exposure, heredity, disease, or trauma.

What are the signs/symptoms of Cataracts? 

Blurred vision, sensitivity to light, dull vision-colors lack vivid contrast, reduced vision in bright light, impaired depth perception.

How is a Cataract detected? 

A detailed eye examination is necessary.

How is a Cataract treated? 

Surgery is required for the removal of a cataract.  The surgery typically last five to seven minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis.  A small incision is made on the edge of the cornea, a small ultrasound system is inserted to break up and remove the cataract, and a lens implant replaces the cataract in order to restore clear vision.

What is a Lens Implant? 

An artificial lens that is placed inside the eye after the cataract is removed.  This implant provides a new, clear lens that allow light to focus on the retina, just as the natural lens did before the cataract developed.

Are there different types of Lens Implants? 

YES! Our surgeons offer a variety of lenses that help to reduce your need for glasses and contacts.  These lenses include: ReStore, Tennis MF, Crystalens, and Toric.  Depending upon your lifestyle, these lenses can help with near, far, and in between needs.  Options will be discussed with you and your surgeon in order to make the best decision for your needs.

Will a Cataract “come back?”

No. However, the capsule that holds the new, lens implant may become cloudy.  A simple, one-time, laser procedure can take care of this “film” and restore clear vision.

Is Cataract surgery covered by insurance, Medicare, Medicaid? 

Cataract surgery is traditionally covered by all forms of insurance if the procedure is deemed medically necessary.  One of our Insurance Specialists will be happy to review your benefits coverage and discuss your options.  Please call (850) 784-3937 to find out if you are a candidate and what options are available for you.