Don’t Live With Cataracts. Restore your Vision with Cataract Surgery.
Is your vision getting g blurry? Do you have an Increased sensitivity to glare? Do you feel there is a film over your eye? You may be developing cataracts. Over 22 million people over the age of 40 have cataracts, and this number is expected to swell to over 30 million by the year 2020. While the thought of losing your vision can be scary, Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser provides Cataract Surgery to the Honolulu and Waipahu areas. At Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser, we have vast experience with cataract surgery, removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). We want to help you restore your vision.
What are Cataracts?
A cataract is a dense, cloudy area that forms in eye’s natural lens, the transparent film that focuses the images as seen by the eye on the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye. A cataract begins when proteins in the eye form clumps that prevent the lens from sending clear images to the retina. A cataract develops slowly, usually unbeknownst to the patient. When these clumps enlarge they begin to interfere with vision by distorting the passage of light through the lens. A person can develop cataracts in both eyes, but they usually don’t form at the same time or progress at the same rate.
What are Cataract Symptoms?
Cataracts cause a progressive, painless loss of vision, along with these symptoms:
Trouble with night vision
Fading of color
Increased sensitivity to glare
Halos surrounding lights
Double vision in the affected eye
A need to frequently change eyeglass prescriptions
A feeling as if there is a film over the eye
Who’s at risk for developing cataracts?
In addition to general aging, these risk factors increase a person’s risk for developing cataracts:
Excessive alcohol use
Excessive sun exposure
Exposure to radiation from x-rays and cancer treatments
Family history of cataracts
High blood pressure
Previous eye injury or surgery
Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
What Types of Cataracts are There?
Cataracts can be classified in several different ways. They may be partial or complete, stationary or progressive, or hard or soft. They can also be classified by the cloudiness of the lens. The main types of age-related cataracts are nuclear sclerosis, cortical, and posterior subcapsular.
This is the most common type of cataract, its name coming from the central or “nuclear” part of the lens. Over time, cataracts form in the middle of the lens and cause it to become yellow or brown. These mainly affect distance vision, with reading less affected.
These cataracts are wedge-shaped and form around the edges of the nucleus/center of the lens. When viewed through an ophthalmoscope, cortical cataracts look like white spokes on a wheel. These cataracts create problems with glare and light scatter at night.
These cataracts occur at the back of the lens. People with diabetes or those taking high doses of steroids have a greater risk of developing posterior subcapsular cataracts.
While these are the most common, there are some other types of cataracts. An immature cataract has some transparent protein, but in a mature cataract, all of the lens protein is opaque. In a hyper-mature or Morgagnian cataract, the lens proteins have become liquid. Congenital cataracts, which are present at birth or develop during a baby’s first year, are far less common than age-related cataracts.
How Are They Diagnosed?
At Maehara Eye Surgery, we perform cataract screenings as a part of our comprehensive eye exams at our Honolulu offics. We can usually see cataracts as a part of this exam, but we check tonometry to measure the pressure inside the eye. The most common tonometry test uses a painless puff of air to flatten your cornea and test eye pressure. When we suspect cataracts, we also test for sensitivity to glare and your perception of color.
What Are My Treatment Options?
The only treatment for cataracts is surgery to replace the clouded lenses. Once affected, the lenses will not return to their former clarity. Still, if patients are not interested in surgery, we can help manage symptoms with stronger prescription eyeglasses, magnifying lenses, or sunglasses with an anti-glare coating.
Surgery involves replacing the natural, clouded lens with an interocular lens implant (IOL). At Maehara Eye Surgery, we recommend surgery when cataracts are impacting your daily life, affecting activities such as reading or driving.
How Is Cataract Surgery Done?
We perform a minimally invasive, small-incision, no-stitch cataract surgery called phacoemulsification (“phaco”) surgery. During this procedure, a tiny incision is made in the eye to make room for a small ultrasonic probe. This probe breaks up or emulsifies, the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The pieces are then suctioned out through the probe. Because of its small size, the incision can heal on its own and only requires a topical (eye drop) anesthesia, so there is no injections or stitching in the eye at all.
Once the cloudy lens has been removed, the artificial IOL is implanted in the eye. Advanced foldable IOLs can be inserted through the same small incision that the original lens was removed from. This significantly reduces recovery times while improving safety and reducing the risk of bleeding, scarring, irritation and distortion.
Recovery From Cataract Surgery
Immediately after surgery, an eye patch is worn; some doctors advise wearing a protective shield, even when sleeping, for several days. Vision may be blurry at first, but improves within a few days. Some itching and discomfort are also present for a few days, but it is important that a patient not rub or exert pressure on the treated eye. Heavy lifting should be avoided. Eye drops to prevent inflammation and infection, and control eye pressure are prescribed.
Full healing can take up to two months, but because we perform cataract surgery on only one eye at a time, daily activities can be resumed in a few days. Most patients need to wear eyeglasses, at least for some tasks, after their surgery. If both eyes have cataracts, we will schedule the second eye for surgery one or two months after the first.