Once Cataracts have been diagnosed, the next question is, "When should cataract surgery be performed?" To answer this question, it is important to understand the progression of the cataract. Keep in mind that cataracts are not an emergency. In most cases they develop over a period of months or even years. During this period of time the patient is often frustrated with his or her vision. They know it could be better, so why wait? The real heart of the decision is lies within the question of surgical risk. For example, let us say that a person has visual acuity of 20/30. They can still read the paper, see most street signs, and carry on a normal life. If surgery is elected at that point, there may be only a small improvement in vision. On the other hand, if the person's vision is 20/70, they now are really borderline for driving. Newsprint is impossible to see except the headlines. The quality of life is now very much affected. Issues like personal safety are now being raised. At this point cataract surgery may, very well, be indicated. The surgical outcome may be a significant improvement in the individuals quality of life, and personal safety. Other aspects of the decision center around the individuals habits and hobbies. As an example, consider an issue such as color vision. Since some types of cataracts are yellow, an individual with this type of cataract and who is a painter may see colors shifted more to the yellow. Surgery might be well advised for a painter whose life depends on accurate color perception. Further examples of issues that affect the decision include questions about the individuals health, mobility, responsibilities, employment, recreation and relaxation activities. All of these issues should be discussed with your doctor so that the right decision is made that address yours specific circumstances. Eyesight is a basic foundation for your quality of life. Make sure that this decision is carefully researched. SURGICAL TECHNIQUES LASERS: One of the most common misconceptions about cataract surgery is found in the issue of lasers. Many people think that cataract surgery is performed with lasers. This is never true. Lasers are used for many eye conditions and eye surgical procedures, but never in cataract surgery. There is a condition called: secondary cataract where a laser, referred to as a YAG laser, is employed, but this is never used on a regular cataract. PHACOEMULSIFICATION Phacoemulsification is the most common surgical procedure now used in cataract surgery. This technique employs a very high frequency (ultrasound) device which literally breaks up the cataract, and vacuums it out of the eye in small pieces. Once the cataract is removed, a Intraocular Lens Implant (IOL) is inserted into the eye, in the place of the cloudy natural lens, which was extracted. CO-MANAGEMENT Cataract surgery has been noted as the singular most common surgical procedure in the United States. Because of this, both Eye Surgeons (Ophthalmologists) and Optometric Physicians (Optometrists) are well trained in the management of this condition. Optometric physicians frequently will monitor a patient for years until he or she is ready for cataract surgery. Under a common protocol referred to as co-management, the Optometric physician and the Eye surgeon (Ophthalmologist) will work together to provide the patient with a combined program where the historical information is offered by the Optometrist to help facilitate a more favorable surgical outcome. With this combined information the the best eye surgeons are able to concentrate on providing the highest level of eye surgery known today. Post-op care can be provided by the surgeon or the optometrist, depending on their combined working relationship. For further information see: Aphakia, Pseudophakia and Intraocular lens Implant (IOL). Add'l keywords/misspellings: surgery catract aphakea sudophakia lens implant
The EyeCyclopedia™ is a collection of eye care terminology created by
practicing optometrists and ophthalmologists. The information provided is not intended
to be a substitute for regular medical care or to diagnose or treat
any medical condition, and should be used only as a supplemental source of information.
Please consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your eye health.