If you or a loved one have begun to experience the onset of cataracts in Arnold or the greater Annapolis region, visit the cataract specialists at Opthalmology Associates of Greater Annapolis for expert diagnosis, advice and treatment of the cataract.
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens, which is naturally clear and allows light to travel through the eye's pupil. In a healthy eye, these light rays are focused through the clear lens and onto the retina, which is comprised of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye. If the lens of the eye is not clear, it cannot focus light properly onto the retina, and vision can be distorted or disrupted. Cataracts typically form gradually and are a part of the natural aging process. Because of this gradual development, cataracts often go unnoticed when they begin to occur.
Common cataract symptoms include blurry, cloudy or dim vision, and those that have cataracts may notice that what they see is not as bright or colorful as it used to be. These symptoms indicate that a cataract may have developed in one or both of your eyes. Other common cataract symptoms include sensitivity to light and glare, double vision, decreased night vision, yellowing of colors, and/or frequent changes in prescription needed to maintain clear vision.
As cataracts progress, difficulty seeing may begin to interfere with daily activities. The Ophthalmology Associates of Greater Annapolis welcome patients that have begun to experience these symptoms and invite them to complete a comprehensive eye examination with us to determine the best treatment path for their cataract symptoms.
How are Cataracts Treated?
Mature Cataracts are among the most common causes of vision loss, but are extremely treatable with cataract surgery. In fact, cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed eye procedures available today. Surgery is the only known treatment for cataracts, as their development cannot be reversed. No medications exist that can 'cure' a cataract.
It is important to consult with an eye doctor if you have begun to develop cataracts. A cataract does not need to be removed immediately when it has begun to develop, particularly if it has not begun to impact your lifestyle or day-to-day activities. Eyeglasses are commonly used to help those who have begun to develop cataracts to see better until it comes time to proceed with cataract surgery. At Ophthalmology Associates of Greater Annapolis, we will work with you to determine when it is appropriate to remove your cataract, and what best fits your lifestyle.
The Cataract Procedure
The most common method of removing cataracts is called phacoemulsification. This requires a small incision to be made in the side of the cornea, through which your eye doctor will insert an instrument that uses high-frequency ultrasound in order to break up the cloudy lens. Once appropriately broken down, the cataract is suctioned out of the eye through the small incision.
Once the cataract has been removed, the surgeon then replaces the lens by inserting an intraocular lens (IOL) implant, which is inserted permanently into the eye. This will allow light to once again pass into the eye through the new lens and focus the light onto the retina, providing clearer vision! Once the IOL is placed appropriately, an ophthalmologist will close the incision and provide appropriate eye protection to use while the eye fully heals.
Cataract Surgery Recovery
You will spend a short period of time resting in the outpatient recovery area before you are ready to go home. It is best to arrange for someone to drive you home, as patients are not able to drive for a time after the procedure.
Following your cataract surgery, it is important to apply eye drops as prescribed by your ophthalmologist to allow the eye to heal appropriately, and use protective eye care as designated by your eye doctor. To prevent infection, it is best to avoid getting water, dust, or dirt in the eye and to avoid any strenuous activity. You may have some blurry vision a few days to weeks after the surgical procedure. If you experience any pain or loss of vision, be sure to call your ophthalmologist.
Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology, www.geteyesmart.com