A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. Most commonly this occurs from aging, but may also result from trauma to the eye, medications, or be congenital.
Most commonly, cataracts develop slowly and as they progress you may begin to notice more difficulty performing your daily activities. Symptoms of cataracts include blurry, cloudy, fuzzy or dim vision. Cataracts can also cause glare from lights and problems driving at night.
To improve your vision, cataracts can be removed with surgery. The surgery is done as an outpatient, and you go home the same day. During cataract surgery, this cloudy lens is removed through a small incision in your eye and replaced with a clear artificial intraocular lens (IOL) implant. These IOLs focus light onto the retina of the eye, which sends visual information to your brain through the optic nerve. Like glasses or contact lenses, IOLs have a prescription in them. With the prescription implanted into your eye, this can decrease or eliminate your need for glasses. Patients may only need glasses for near activities or reading after cataract surgery.
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In addition to being nearsighted (myopic) or farsighted (hyperopic), many people have astigmatism, in which the curvature of the eye is not the same in all directions. Rather than being perfectly spherical and round, the surface can be curved like a football. Astigmatism can cause blurring of your vision and is most commonly corrected with a glasses or contact lens prescription. Specialized astigmatism correctly IOLs, called Toric IOLs, can now correct your astigmatism at the same time as your cataract surgery. If you have a cataract and astigmatism, these IOLs may be a great option for you to improve your vision and reduce or eliminate your need for glasses.
Most patients undergoing cataract surgery also suffer from presbyopia, which is a progressive loss in the ability to focus at near, caused by the natural process of aging. New multifocal IOLs have been designed to treat presbyopia and can reduce your need for glasses to see things up close. They work by splitting light into multiple foci, to help you focus at both distance and near.
Another recent advancement in cataract surgery is intraoperative aberrometry. With this new technology, measurements of your eye can be taken during your surgery, after the cataract has been removed, to confirm the IOL power selection and measure astigmatism. This is designed to help provide you with the most accurate results from your cataract surgery.
Dr. Sarafzadeh believes in a personalized approach to cataract surgery and will work with you to decide what is best for you and your unique lifestyle.