In a normal eye, light passes through a clear tissue known as the lens and becomes focused for clear vision. A cataract is the clouding/opacification of the normally-transparent lens within your eye. If a cataract is blocking the passage of light through the lens, the result is blurry vision, increased glare, and washed-out colors. These visual distortions may not always be corrected with glasses or contacts, especially if the cataract is mature and large.
Cataracts generally occur as a chemical change over time that causes the lens to become increasingly cloudy. It may be due to advancing age, heredity, injury, or disease. Some risk factors include UV exposure, smoking, certain medications, and diabetes. Your optometrist will discuss methods for slowing down the progression of cataracts at your yearly routine exam and any medical office visits to check the status of your cataracts.
If your cataract develops to the point where it affects your daily quality of life or if they adversely affect the health of your eye, your optometrist will refer you to a surgeon to remove the cataract. After the surgery, your optometrist will monitor your eye as it heals — checking for infection, complications, and any residual glasses prescriptions. This shared responsibility is called co-management. Our doctors are experienced in the cataract co-managment.
During a typical cataract surgery, the surgeon removes the cataract and replaces it with an artificial lens, similar to a contact lens. That artificial lens, known as an intraocular lens (IOL), has a focusing power that is uniquely designed for you. Once that lens is inserted, vision is generally improved, but there may be a residual prescription.
There are several types of IOL lenses that may be inserted in place of your cataract. Some of them (such as the ReZoom, CrystaLens, ReStor) are multifocal and aid with both far and near vision. Some of them (such as a toric IOL) aid with astigmatism. Our optometrist as well as the surgeon will discuss which options are better suited for your visual needs.
At Visual Edge Optometric Group, we co-manage with only the most prestigious cataract surgeons in the area. We have a dedicated Surgical Coordinator who will help you organize your insurance forms, appointments with the surgeon, and follow-up checks at our office. Our doctors will see you prior to surgery to answer your questions, discuss the best options, and monitor your healing process.