Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens because of a clumping tendency in the protein of the lens. Normally the lens is clear so that light rays can pass through it to the retina at the back of the eye. The retina is like the film in a camera, and light rays passing directly through the lens focus and form clear images on the retina.
If there’s something opaque in the lens, it deflects the light rays, making them scatter sideways at random. As a result, they aren’t ableto focus clearly on the retina, and the person experiences blurry vision and glare.
Cataracts can be corrected only by having a vision correction surgeon remove the lens and replace it with an artificial one called an intraocular lens (IOL) or intraocular implant.
Commonly asked questions
Will I have 20/20 vision after cataract vision correction surgery?
Most patients achieve 20/20 vision as long as there are no preexisting conditions such as:
- Macular degeneration
- Macular scarring or wrinkling
- Corneal scarring
Cataract vision correction surgery simply replaces the human lens with an artificial lens. Therefore any pre-existing pathology in the eye may continue to give less-than-perfect vision, even after the lens containing the cataract is removed.
But with the aid of glasses, many people achieve 20/20 vision after cataract surgery, and many others achieve it without the use of glasses.
Will I need glasses after cataract vision correction surgery?
The lens implant corrects approximately 90 to 95% of most patients’ vision after cataract surgery. However, many people need some degree of correction to fine-tune their vision. People who do achieve 20/20 vision without glasses for distance typically need glasses to see for up-close activities such as reading or sewing.
What are the complications of cataract surgery?
While most people do well with cataract vision correction surgery, some unfortunately develop complications:
- Corneal edema
- Permanently blurry vision
- Macular edema
- Total blindness
But these complications are rare and most people see very well after their cataracts have been removed.
Is there a way to maximize my chances of seeing 20/20 without glasses after cataract surgery?
Typically Dr Sambursky works to have each of his patients see 20/20 at a distance without glasses. However, every patient is different and if you have a preexisting condition which gives you vision worse than 20/20, you’ll probably still need glasses after the surgery.
When a patient is very motivated Dr. Sambursky can perform LASIK surgery in conjunction with cataract surgery, to optimize the distance vision. But most people will still need reading glasses for close-up activities.
Is there a way for patients to see 20/20 at both near and far distances without any glasses?
Recently some IOLs have become available called multifocal or accommodating lenses. They’re similar to bifocal contact lenses but are placed inside the eye. Eighty percent of patients who receive this type of lens are able to function without glasses for both near and far vision.
About 30% of patients who elect to have them may need a “touch up” or enhancement with the same laser that is used to perform LASIK.
These lenses work best if you have no astigmatism. Patients with preexisting astigmatism will need a surgical procedure to correct it before having the IOL implanted.
Since the brain understands information better when both eyes are sending the same signal, vision is better if both eyes receive the implanted lenses.
If you think you may have cataracts and are interested in learning more, please contact us today for your free initial consultation.