What Are Cataracts?
A cataract is a specific kind of clouding of the eye’s internal lens. This lens helps to focus light and images on the cornea so you can see. The lens is only one of several parts of the eye responsible for this function, but it provides about 35% of the focusing power of each eye. Cataracts can develop in several different parts of the lens. Several types of cataracts are closely associated with getting older. Although the risk of cataracts increases over time, treatment is possible. Proper treatment can restore eyesight completely for most patients.
What Causes Cataracts?
The lens of the eye is made of water and protein – these proteins are similar to the materials that make up muscles. A healthy lens has proteins arranged in a precise way that keeps vision clear while allowing light to pass through. Over time, these natural proteins can clump together and develop into a mass that clouds part of the lens. Once mass development begins, it tends to get worse over time. Certain disorders, such as diabetes and hypertension, can make cataracts more likely. So can smoking and obesity.
What Are the Signs of Cataracts?
The early signs of cataracts are challenging to detect. Most people cannot tell these subtle symptoms from ordinary age-related vision changes. “Point sources” of light, such as lamps or headlights, may seem too bright. There may be a slight blurring of vision in the center or edges of the eye. As the cataract develops, the specific symptoms depend on precisely where it is in relation to the lens. Cataracts can develop in either eye independently of the other.
Standard Cataract Surgery vs. Refractive Cataract Surgery
There are several different kinds of cataract surgery. However, the most common form involves the removal of the clouded lens. The lens is then replaced with an artificial intraocular lens that performs the same function as the original. The procedure does not require hospitalization or recovery time.
Refractive cataract surgery takes the treatment process to the next level. This procedure is every bit as safe as standard cataract surgery. Like the original technique, there is no recovery time or hospital stay. However, it offers a powerful advantage: The ability to improve your vision beyond what you had before the cataract developed.
Refractive cataract surgery uses a specialized intraocular lens that enables corrections to the eye structures that facilitate vision. The IOL can correct instances of nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and age-related eye changes.
Benefits of Refractive Cataract Surgery
Refractive cataract surgery is one of only a handful of treatments that can improve vision. It doesn’t merely restore sight to a more youthful level, but enhances it – sometimes, beyond anything the patient ever had before. All vision correction uses lenses. Lenses use a specific curvature to focus light in the right way to enhance vision. Because of this, it is often impossible to develop a treatment that delivers perfect eyesight at all ranges – but refractive cataract surgery is the next best thing.
Most patients focus their treatment on reducing presbyopia, loss of the eye’s ability to focus on objects at close range. Presbyopia arises over time, thanks to the reduced elasticity of the ocular lens. With an IOL optimized to eliminate presbyopia, many people can stop using glasses. Patients aged 45-65 are most likely to notice signs of presbyopia.
Refractive cataract surgery can also enhance distance vision. Some patients can achieve 20/20 vision or even better at a distance. However, the treatment must be customized to the patient’s precise goals to deliver the improvements desired. Performed correctly, refractive cataract surgery eliminates future cataract risk in the treated eye. It can reduce or remove the need for other procedures that boost eyesight, including popular choices like LASIK and PRK.
Refractive cataract surgery is the ideal treatment for many people seeking improved vision and a better quality of life after cataracts. It should only be performed by a trusted vision specialist like Dr. Delianides, with years of experience customizing advanced techniques. With help from Atlantic Eye Consultants, you may find the procedure exceeds their expectations. To find out more or get started, contact us today!