A cataract occurs when proteins clump together in the eye’s lens and interfere with light passing through to the retina. This causes a progressive clouding of the eye's natural lens, which results in blurred, fuzzy vision and sensitivity to light. Many young people in Louisville, and half of all people over the age of 60 suffer from cataracts in one or both eyes.
While age is often the cause, there are many other factors that can lead to someone getting cataracts. Trauma to the eye, diabetes, glaucoma, smoking, and exposure to ultraviolet radiation can all increase someone’s risk of getting cataracts. Small cataracts that form in middle-aged people often do not affect vision until the person grows older and the cataracts have grown larger.
There is currently no medical treatment to reverse or prevent the development of cataracts. Once they form, the only one way to achieve clear vision again is through cataract surgery. Cataract surgery involves removing the eye’s blurry lens and replacing it with an artificial one called an intraocular lens. Patients who have another eye disease in addition to cataracts may not be able to have the surgery, in which case special contact lenses or high magnification glasses may be suggested.
Being diagnosed with cataracts does not mean you must immediately have cataract surgery. Each case of cataracts is unique, and some people may develop them and never have major problems with their vision. Surgery is only required when you believe your quality of life has been impaired by poor vision. Delaying cataract surgery will not typically cause long-term damage to your eye, or make the surgery more difficult should you decide to have it later on.
Should you decide to move forward with surgery, we will ask you to arrive at the surgery center about one hour prior to your procedure. Once you’ve been checked in you may be offered a sedative to help you relax. We will then prepare you for surgery by cleaning the area around your eyes and using eye drops or a local anesthetic to numb your eyes. When your eye is completely numb, an eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to keep you from blinking during the procedure.
A very small incision will be made, and a tiny ultrasonic probe will be used to break up the cataract into microscopic particles using high-energy sound waves. Lasers are occasionally used to assist cataract surgery, but the ultrasonic probe is almost always used to remove the cataract. The Taustine Eye Center has invested in numerous lasers, and will discuss each option to determine which is best for the patient’s needs.
The cataract particles will be gently suctioned away. Then, a folded intraocular lens will be inserted through the micro-incision, where it will be unfolded and locked into permanent position. The small incision is "self-sealing" and usually requires no stitches. It remains tightly closed by the natural outward pressure within the eye. This type of incision heals fast and provides a much more comfortable recuperation.
You will go home soon after the surgery and relax for the rest of the day. Everyone heals somewhat differently, but many patients who have cataract surgery in Louisville report improvement in their vision almost immediately after the procedure. Most patients return to their normal activities within one or two days.
Who will my doctor be?
Rather than being a practice of general ophthalmologists, each doctor at the Taustine Eye Center has an area of specialization. These specializations ensure that our patients receive the most up-to-date treatments from highly experienced and knowledgeable doctors.
- Refractive Surgery
- Laser Vision Correction
- IOL Surgery