What is a cataract? What is cataract surgery?
Every eye has a natural lens that rests behind the colored iris. This lens focuses light on the retina to allow a person to see. Over many years, parts of this lens can become cloudy. As this haze increases the patient’s vision begins to deteriorate.
One can think about the structure of the lens as being similar to a peanut M&M candy. It has a thin shell called a capsule, a soft middle layer called the cortex, and a hard center called the nucleus. Some patients develop a grainy translucent material on the back capsule. These cataracts are called posterior subcapsular cataracts. Other patients develop fluffy grey deposits in the middle layer. These are termed cortical cataracts. However, the most common type of cataract involves the hard central nucleus. This is known as a nuclear cataract. Protein buildup, cellular debris, and ultraviolet light all transpire over time to cause the various layers of the lens to become hazy or cloudy.
Anyone who has driven in Minnesota in the winter knows how hard it can be to see through a car windshield once it has become covered with salt and road grime. It becomes even harder to see through that dirty windshield if the sun or bright car headlights strike it. The blurring, haze, and glare one sees through a dirty car windshield are similar to the visual disturbances faced by patients with cataracts. Patients with cataracts often complain of glare when looking at bright lights. They also notice that colors appear muted and that their vision is simply, "not very sharp anymore".
Fortunately cataract surgery can correct all of these problems. The surgery is painless and quick, typically taking as little as 10 to 20 minutes. Visual recovery begins almost immediately, although full recovery of vision can take 2-4 weeks in some cases. During the surgery the cloudy cataract is removed using ultrasonic energy. An artificial lens is then inserted to take its place and restore vision.
As technology has advanced, more and more specialty intraocular lenses have become available. Your surgeon will discuss the different lens options with you and help you pick the lens that will be best for your eye. The surgeons at North Suburban Eye Specialists use the very latest, state of the art, diagnostic technology to give you the best possible surgical result.
For more information or to make an appointment, call us today at (763) 421-7420