What is a Cataract?
Cataracts occur when the eye’s clear lens becomes cloudy, usually due to the body’s natural aging process. Since cataracts progress slowly, you might not notice any differences in your vision at first. As the cataracts continue to develop, they will impact your vision more and more, and you’ll notice the following symptoms:
Sensitivity to light
Light seems too bright or glaring
Visual halos around bright lights
Difficulty seeing at night or in low light
Blurry, hazy, or reduced vision
Colors appear less vibrant
As we age, the lens becomes cloudy due to clumps of proteins forming in the eye which impair and obstruct your vision. While we’re not entirely sure what causes cataracts to form, we do know there are several risk factors for them, including but not limited to, prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, smoking, and a family history of cataracts.
What does Cataract surgery entail?
Originally, the procedure to remove a cataract involved using a diamond blade to make a small incision in the cornea, the clear outer coating of the eye. The surgeon would then insert a small, ultrasound wave-emitting probe to soften the cataract enough to be suctioned out of the cornea. Once the cataract was cleared, only the thin outer membrane of the cornea—the lens capsule—remained. During your cataract surgery, your cloudy natural lens is replaced with an intraocular lens, or IOL. These lenses can restore or even enhance your eyesight, reducing or eliminating the need for eyewear after your surgery. Our team offers a range of IOLs that are personalized to match your vision’s specific needs.
What does surgery day look like?
As with any major surgery, meticulous planning must be done beforehand. Using the 3-D image technology, Dr. Krassin will create a detailed map of your eye to assess thickness of the cornea and depth of the anterior chamber, the fluid-filled space between the cornea and the lens. He will also measure pupil diameter and determine parameters for the incisions made during the procedure. On the day of surgery, you will remain awake, but your eye area will be numbed and your eye will be stabilized in a laser platform.
The 15- to 20-minute procedure, your surgeon will use the information gathered from the 3D images and maps to obtain greater accuracy and precision. The procedure itself is not painful, but you may experience slight tugging or pressure. You will be sedated for relaxation and lying under bright lights so you will not feel any discomfort.
Once vitals are normal, most patients can leave within an hour after the surgery is completed. You will most likely feel slight discomfort, itching, and blurred vision for a few days while your eye heals. Resist the temptation to rub your eyes, lift heavy objects, or perform any other strenuous tasks. Follow-ups are usually scheduled within a few days and over the next few months to ensure the eye is healing properly and no complications have arisen.
Are there risks?
Most post-surgery complications are low-risk and easily treatable. If a complication does arise, it is most commonly a posterior capsule opacification (PCO), or the slight thickening of the lens capsule due to a regrowth of the cells. This is not a new cataract because cataracts cannot grow back. However, this thickening can cause slight blurriness and sensitivity to bright lights. The cloudiness can be corrected with a procedure called a YAG Laser capsulotomy, where the surgeon uses a laser to make a small hole... in the back of the lens, allowing light to pass through to the retina. PCO is relatively uncommon, affecting only about 20% of laser cataract surgery patients.
What is the cost?
The cost of cataract surgery varies based on specific eye-correction options and insurance plan coverage. Even if a portion of the surgery is covered, there may be additional out-of-pocket deductibles or copayments that will need to be met. With so many variables, it is best if you consult with our office and your insurance company to determine cost and benefits specific to you.
Financing with Care Credit is Easy
We’re pleased to accept the CareCredit credit card, North America’s leading patient healthcare financing program. CareCredit lets you begin your procedure immediately — then pay for it over time with monthly payments that fit easily into your monthly budget.
The CareCredit health, wellness, and personal care credit card gives you a convenient, flexible way to pay for care.