Cataract Surgery has come a long way since your parents had it done! Dr. Jackson uses the latest technology to help improve outcomes and decrease healing time for his patients. Ask how he can help you see better!
What is a cataract and what symptoms does it cause?
The human eye has a lens to focus light just like a camera. Cataract is when this lens becomes cloudy, usually due to age. This causes decreased visual acuity, blurring, and allows less light into the eye. Patients may experience trouble seeing street signs, reading, or difficulty in dim illumination situations (such as driving at night or seeing the menu in a restaurant). This clouding can also cause glare on bright days or with oncoming headlights while driving at night.
How are cataracts treated?
Mild cataracts that do not cause any of the symptoms above can usually be safely monitored by your eyecare provider. Glasses may be sufficient for early cases. As cataracts progress, glasses will be ineffective, and the aforementioned symptoms will become more apparent. Visually significant cataracts can be removed with a safe and comfortable outpatient procedure, one eye at a time, usually about 2 weeks apart.
How is the surgery performed?
Dr. Jackson will access your cataract through your dilated pupil by making tiny incisions in your cornea (the clear part in the front of the eye). After opening the lens capsule, state-of-the-art ultrasound technology is used to break up the cataract and remove it, leaving the remainder of the lens capsule intact. A clear intraocular lens implant (IOL) is inserted and centered in the lens capsule. The incisions are then closed, typically without stitches. A laser can also be used to automate portions of the procedure to make them more exact and decrease the amount of ultrasound energy required.
What is a Premium IOL?
Standard intraocular lens implants (IOLs) are covered by insurance as part of the cataract procedure. They give great vision but usually leave the patient with a need for glasses after surgery. Premium IOLs use advanced technology to correct astigmatism (when the cornea is not perfectly round) and presbyopia (the inability to see up close to read as we age) with some out-of-pocket expense. These lenses are not appropriate for everyone, but for the right patient, they can greatly reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses after surgery. Ask Dr. Jackson if you are a candidate during your surgical evaluation. For more details on premium IOLs, see here.
What can I expect during cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is performed comfortably under sedation (either oral or IV), without the need for general anesthesia. The procedure usually lasts around 15 minutes, with some complex or "stubborn" cases lasting as long as 40 minutes. Expect to be at the surgery center for 2-3 hours to account for registration, time to dilate the eye, and recovery time. Due to the sedation, you will not be able to drive yourself home from surgery but will need someone to drive you home.
What can I expect after surgery?
Because cataract surgery is minimally invasive, you should feel minimal if any pain after surgery. It is normal for the eye to feel a little dry and scratchy for up to 48 hours and be blurry for the first 3-4 days. You will see Dr. Jackson either on the afternoon of your surgery or the next morning. At this visit he will review your post-operative eye drops and instructions. You will be seen by Dr. Jackson or your referring eye care provider approximately 1 week after surgery to make sure the eye is healing well. If necessary, new glasses prescriptions are provided approximately 1 month after surgery on the second eye.