A cataract causes vision to be blurry or cloudy. When a cataract forms, the lens of the eye changes impairing vision. Light is no longer able to readily pass through the lens resulting in blurred vision. Usually, cataracts occur in persons over 55 and are thought to be part of the natural aging process. In rare cases, cataracts develop in young children. A comprehensive eye examination can detect cataract formation and determine if it is "ready" to be removed.
A comprehensive exam must be completed by the surgeon prior to scheduling the cataract surgery. At this time, measurements and imaging are performed, and lens options are discussed with each patient. Patients may choose between several lenses including astigmatic lenses and multi-focal lenses.
Cataract surgery is done under topical anesthesia with small incisions. This is a "no stitch" surgery, and this method is referred to as phacoemulsification. The latest foldable lenses are used. This procedure takes about 15 minutes and is performed as an outpatient at the Cabell-Huntington Surgery Center. Patients are seen the day after surgery to have the patch removed and to receive instructions concerning their drops. Patients will continue to be monitored for the next several weeks.