Lens comparision: clear & cloudy

The eye is like a camera, with the lens of the eye similar to a camera lens. Cataracts cause the clear lens of the eye to become cloudy. Because the lens of the eye is used to focus light, when a cataract causes the lens to become cloudy, the light entering the eye scatters. The effect is similar to a camera lens being covered with Vaseline or frost.

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world. More than 20.5 million Americans are affected by cataracts, and over 2 million cataract surgeries are performed in the United States every year.

Cataract symptoms include:

Foggy Vision
  • Glare, especially while driving at night or while looking at a television or computer screen
  • Needing more light to read
  • Foggy, hazy vision
  • Loss of depth perception

Cataract treatment options include:

  • Observation if not too symptomatic
  • Cataract surgery
    • 95% of cataract surgeries are performed without complication.
    • The surgery is performed using a local injection or topical eye drops with intravenous sedation. Patients usually do not require general anesthesia.

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is done under a microscope. The cloudy lens is removed using a phaco-emulsifier which uses ultrasound waves to dissolve and vacuum the lens out. (Lasers are not used in cataract surgery). The incision is less than 3mm long and it seals itself. After the cataract is removed, a lens implant is unfolded inside the eye. After cataract surgery, the thin capsule or membrane which supports the intraocular lens can become cloudy. If this occurs, a laser can be used to dissolve the cloudy membrane. This procedure only takes a few minutes and can be done in the office. No anesthesia or post-operative restrictions are needed.

The causes of Cataracts include:

  • Aging (the main cause)
  • Family history
  • Medical problems (such as Diabetes)
  • Previous eye surgeries
  • Trauma
  • Exposure to ultraviolet light