A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens, located just behind the colored part of the eye called the iris. The function of the lens is to focus light entering the eye to produce a clear, sharp image much in the same way the lens in a camera focuses light onto the film. As a result of cataract formation, light entering the eye becomes scattered, causing distortion and eventual loss of vision. Vision changes may include blurriness, increased sensitivity to light with glare or halos, poor night vision, a need for brighter light during reading and other activities, fading or yellowing of colors, as well as double-vision.
Cataracts are a very common problem and remain the leading cause of visual impairment and reversible blindness in adults. Cataracts usually occur as a normal part of aging and may develop in one or both eyes. However, injury to the eye, various diseases including diabetes, certain medications, smoking, long-term exposure to sunlight, and family history may increase one’s risk of developing a cataract.
Cataracts do not go away by themselves and will typically worsen over time. There are no medications, eye drops, exercises, or glasses that prevent them from forming or that will cause them to disappear. Using new glasses, strong bifocals, magnifiers, appropriate lighting and other vision aids may improve vision for awhile. However, surgery is the definitive treatment for cataracts and is usually recommended when a cataract worsens to the point where it interferes with one’s normal day-to-day activities. In some instances, cataract surgery may also be recommended in order to better manage another eye problem, including glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery. It is also the most frequently performed surgery in the United States, with more than 2 million patients undergoing cataract surgery each year. At the Cabarrus Eye Center, we perform thousands of cataract surgeries each year in our state-of-the-art, outpatient Eye Surgery & Laser Center. Our surgical center is the only one of its kind in the area of Rowan, Stanley, and Cabarrus counties, serving only our eye patients. It is conveniently located on the same campus as our main office and has an excellent staff comprised of warm and caring individuals with over thirty years of experience.
Cataract surgeries performed in our surgery center are done with the patient awake and under topical anesthesia, which includes both drops and ointment used to numb the eye and eliminate any discomfort. The surgery takes on average 10-20 minutes. During the surgery, a microscopic incision is made in the eye through which the cataract is removed using an advanced ultrasound technology. Once the cataract has been removed, a clear plastic lens, called an implant, is inserted into the eye. This lens is chosen specifically for each patient using our state-of-the-art equipment and becomes a permanent part of the eye. With this new lens, patients will enjoy much-improved vision quality and most will experience significant freedom from using glasses to see at a distance. Premium lenses are now also available for those patients desiring even less dependence on glasses for distance vision as well as reading.