December 14, 2018 | by Shivali Menda MD

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are clouding of the natural lens in your eye. As we get older, the natural lens in our eyes continues to grow and becomes more disorganized. This causes blurring of your vision or difficulty with night vision.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Many people notice worsening blurry vision that is not improved with glasses. Other people describe their night vision is worse and describe difficulty with glare and halos, particularly when driving. Cataracts can only be diagnosed with an complete eye examination in clinic. If you are having these symptoms, you should consult your ophthalmologist or optometrist.

When should you consider cataract surgery?

In general, you should consider cataract surgery when your vision affects your daily life like watching TV, driving, knitting, or anything else that you enjoy. This is an important discussion to have with your ophthalmologist.

What happens during cataract surgery?

During cataract surgery, a small incision is made in the eye. The natural lens is broken into very small pieces and removed. It is replaced by an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) that will help focus the light in your eye.

What can I expect with surgery?

Cataract surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure so you can go home afterwards to fully recover. You will be brought into an operating room and will lay flat. You’ll get some anesthetic on and around your eye and may also get additional medications through an IV to keep you comfortable. You’ll look at a bright light and follow your doctor’s instructions. Patients usually do not have pain during cataract surgery, although they may feel some pressure. You will have a shield on your eye after surgery and use some eye drops to help your eye heal. You will see your ophthalmologist a few times after surgery to ensure that your eye is healing well.

What are the intraocular lens (IOL) options?

There are multiple options for the IOL or lens that is placed into your eye including:

  • Monofocal IOLs (intraocular lenses) help your eyes focus light at either distance or near.

  • Toric IOLs can help correct certain forms of astigmatism.

  • Multifocal or accommodating IOLs can help patients see better at both distance and near.

It’s very important that you discuss these options with your ophthalmologist so that together you can choose the best IOL for YOUR eyes. To schedule an appointment with one of The Polyclinic’s board certified ophthalmologist’s call 206-682-3447.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology provides excellent resources and videos. They can be found here: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-cataracts

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Written By: Shivali Menda MD