Like many other eye problems, cataracts affect your vision. But unlike refractive errors, cataracts only get worse over time.
Glasses won’t help forever either. This is because vision loss occurs because the lens of the eye becomes more opaque. When this happens, it blocks light from shining all the way into the eye.
Visual aids like glasses and contact lenses focus light properly into the eye. With refractive errors, this is usually due to the cornea being misshapen.
As of now, there is no way to reverse the process of cataract development. The only effective way to deal with them is with surgery.
Cataract surgery is an incredibly successful and commonly performed procedure. Keep reading to learn more about cataract surgery and how it works!
How Does Cataract Surgery Work?
The goal of cataract surgery is not to reverse or remove cataracts. Instead, it is to but to remove the lens entirely.
The problem with this is that removing the lens of the eye makes it impossible to see. The lens is a vital component of vision and how we are able to see.
This is why during cataract surgery, the lens is instead replaced with an artificial lens (IOL). An IOL is a small device made of acrylic or silicone and lasts a lifetime.
There are a variety of IOLs to choose from, including premium options that can correct previous refractive errors. Many patients that get cataract surgery end up with the best vision of their lives.
To discuss your options, set up a cataract screening at Georgia Eye Associates. Your cataract surgeon will recommend the best IOL based on your lifestyle and needs.
To remove the lens of the eye to make room for the IOL, the surgeon makes a small opening in the cornea. If you are having laser-assisted cataract surgery, this step will be with a laser.
After creating the opening, a small part of the tissue is left attached, so the cornea can then be opened up like a flap. Once opened, the surgeon can access the lens through the pupil.
The lens is too big to fit through the pupil, even dilated, so the surgeon will break the lens apart. A process known as phacoemulsification breaks the lens apart using an ultrasonic probe that emits sound waves next to the lens.
Once the lens has been fully broken apart, the pieces are then suctioned out. At this point, the IOL can be easily placed where the natural lens was.
The flap of the cornea is then placed back over the opening, where it will reattach.
What is Recovery Like?
Recovering from cataract surgery may take longer for some than for others. The process is individual and depends on the patient.
You may experience some mild pain and irritation after the anesthetic wears off. This should go away after a few hours or days.
You will need to be careful not to damage your eyes and avoid risking infection. Regular check-ins with your doctor are a priority, so make sure to work them into your schedule!
Concerned that you may have cataracts? Schedule a cataract screening at Georgia Eye Associates in Atlanta, GA to find out if you may need cataract surgery!