In a mature cataract, the pupil, which normally appears black, will look grey or white.
As a cataract progresses, you may notice a decrease in your clarity of vision that glasses cannot fully correct. You may also experience:
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Difficulty seeing at night, especially while driving
- Sensitivity to bright lights
- A “halo” effect around lights
- Faded or yellowed colors
- Double vision in the affected eye
- A need to change your glasses or contact prescription frequently
Low Risk. High Reward.
Cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to restore vision. It’s usually done on an outpatient basis and only requires a short recovery period. The surgery generally completes the procedure in 10 to 15 minutes, and severe complications are rare. After cataract surgery, patients can resume most of their normal activities the following day.
The surgery involves removing the patient’s cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens called an IOL, or intraocular lens. An IOL is a clear, plastic lens that requires no care and becomes a permanent part of the eye. Click IOLs to read more about IOLs.
The most commonly used cataract surgery procedure today is “phaco,” or Phacoemulsification. Phaco reduces recovery time, as well as reducing the risks involved with larger incisions.
This surgery only involves a few steps:
- Preparation. The patient is given a mild sedative and the eye is cleansed. Drops are then added to dilate the pupil, and an anesthetic shot or numbing eye drops are applied for comfort.
- Removing the old lens. A small incision is made on the side of the cornea, the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. The surgeon inserts a tiny probe, which emits ultrasonic waves that soften and break up the lens so it can be removed by suction.
- Inserting the new lens. The surgeon uses the injector tool to place the IOL into the eye. The lens unfolds, is secured and is then adjusted by the surgeon to ensure correct alignment.
- Recovery. The incision is so small that it seals itself, so stitches aren’t necessary. The patient can resume normal activities the following day.
Any surgery has risks. One complication of cataract surgery is a secondary cataract. This occurs when there is scarring of the capsule that holds the new lens that was put in the eye during cataract surgery. This is very common and can lead to blurring of the vision again after cataract surgery, resembling the symptoms of the original cataract. This can be easily treated using a laser to open the cloudy capsule. The procedure is called a YAG capsulotomy which is a quick, painless procedure.