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Cataract Center

What is a Cataract?

Is your vision foggy or blurry? Do colors appear dull or not sharp? Do your eyes hurt when you go out in the sun? If you answered YES to these questions you may be experiencing cataracts. Our eyes function very much like a camera. You have two natural lenses in your eye. One lens on the surface (cornea) of your eye, and a second lens within your eye, called the crystalline lens. Together these lenses focus images on the back of your eye (retina). At birth, our crystalline lens is clear. As we begin to age, it yellows and begins to harden. This cloudy lens is referred to as a cataract and begins to interfere with the quality of our vision. Everyone at some point develops cataracts with age.

Cataract FAQ

The most common cause of cataracts is the normal aging process. As we grow older, the lens of the eye tends to gradually lose its clarity and becomes cloudy. The result is a decrease in the quality of vision. The time to consider lens replacement surgery is when the quality of your lifestyle begins to suffer. A cataract can be the reason why images become blurred, bright colors become dull, and seeing at night has become more difficult. It may also be the reason that your glasses do not seem to help keep things in focus as well. As a cataract begins to develop over time, people tend to accept and adjust to the decline in their lifestyles.
 

What is Cataract Surgery?

Cataract Surgery is the only way a cataract can be removed. This surgery involves a very small incision through which the natural crystalline lens is removed. Once the lens is removed, it is replaced with a new clear lens. In the old days, there were no implants, and patients had to wear thick glasses (“Coke bottle glasses”) after surgery to see well. Now there are implants that are placed directly into the eye, reducing or eliminating the need for any glasses after surgery. The newest implants (called premium lens implants, toric implants, and presbyopia-correcting implants), can even provide sharp vision at both a distance and up close, reducing or eliminating the need for any kind of glasses, including reading glasses, after surgery.

Phacoemulsification is the surgical method where a small probe is inserted into the side of the cornea. The cataract, which has been weakened with the use of ultrasound waves, is then suctioned. A more dated and less common technique, called extracapsular cataract surgery, requires a larger surgical incision into the cornea so that the cataract can be removed in one piece.

Cataract Surgery Tucson

After the removal of the cataract, the IOL, or intraocular lens is implanted, composed of acrylic, plastic or silicone. There are various different types of IOLs. Aspheric lens implants can help patients who have trouble seeing in dim lighting. Toric lens implants assist those who have astigmatism, or blurry vision at all distances due to a faulty curve in the cornea. Monofocal lens implants frequently help with distance vision, but most individuals that receive them still need to wear glasses or contacts to help with other vision problems.

Presbyopia, or the condition which is the difficulty viewing things close up, can be rectified with lens implants that allow patients to see at all distances minus the need for glasses after cataract surgery. The Crystalens™ has flexible hinges that enable the lens to adjust and switch focus as necessary. ReSTOR® lenses use two kinds of light bending and focusing technologies (called apodized diffraction and refraction). The outside portion of the ReSTOR lens focuses light to assist with distance vision, where the center of the lens bends light to allow the individual to focus on both close and far away objects.

Premium Lenses

Toric TucsonIntraocular lens implants (IOLs) are used to replace the natural lenses of the eye, usually when those natural lenses have been clouded by cataracts. There are a number of different types of these IOLs, one being the implantable toric lens.

Toric lens implants are typically used to correct both the cataract, along with the astigmatism that goes along with it. Most patients who received toric lens implants significantly reduced, or eliminated, their need for eyeglasses.

The soft, flexible toric lens is implanted through a microscopic incision on an outpatient basis with a very low risk of complications. The benefit of such a small incision is that, rarely, no sutures are needed afterwards, so recovery time is minimal. Candidates must have generally good eye health, and not have undergone previous cataract surgery.

ReSTOR

ReSTORThe ReSTOR intraocular lens (IOL) is a permanent, artificial lens that can be implanted into the eye to improve the quality of vision at multiple distances. It is typically used to replace a patient’s natural lens following cataract surgery, but may also be used in those whose vision has deteriorated due to the normal aging process.

ReSTORReSTOR lens implants are highly reliable in correcting both near-sightedness and far-sightedness, and in most cases significantly reduce, or even eliminate, the need for eyeglasses.

During surgery, the soft, plastic ReSTOR lens is folded and inserted into the eye through a microscopic incision. The lens then unfolds, replacing the original lens, and vision is restored almost immediately.

Implementation of the ReSTOR lens is performed on an outpatient basis, and patients can typically return to their normal activities within a few days. Candidates for ReSTOR must be in generally good health, and not have had previous cataract surgery.