Cataracts – clouding in the lens of the eye that affects vision – impact more than 22 million Americans aged 40 and older. More than 70% of adults will get cataracts at some point in their lifetime.
A cataract is a clouding, or haziness, of the lens of your eye. This part of your eye helps focus light on your retina, the area where images are formed. When the lens becomes cloudy, these images are less clear.
At Oregon Eye Specialists, we’re proud to have some of the most experienced cataract surgeons in the region on our team. Our knowledgable physicians are able to dramatically impact your quality of life with proper cataract care. Learn more about cataracts and how you can seek treatment at Oregon Eye Specialists.
Aging is the most common cause of cataracts. About 50 percent of Americans aged 65-74 have some degree of cataract, and 70 percent of Americans who are 75 or older have cataracts.
Other causes include:
- Previous eye injury or surgery
- Genetic (inherited) disorders
Risk factors are conditions that don’t necessarily cause cataracts, but increase your chance of getting them. They include:
- Diabetes and other medical conditions
- Long-term exposure to sunlight
- Radiation from X-rays or radiation treatments
- High blood pressure and obesity
- Long-term use of certain medications, such as prednisone or other steroid medications
- Having family members with cataracts
Cataracts usually develop slowly, so you might not notice any vision changes at first. Cataract symptoms include:
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty seeing well at night
- Glare, halos around objects or sensitivity to bright light
- Double vision
- Loss of color vision (colors look yellow or faded)
- Needing a new glasses or contact lens prescription more often
You also might notice problems with activities that require clear vision, such as reading or playing golf. By examining your eyes, an eye doctor can tell you if you have cataracts in one or both eyes.
Cataracts don’t usually cause pain, eye irritation, or vision problems that come and go. If you have any of these symptoms, you might have a different eye condition. Talk to your doctor about any eye symptoms or vision changes, especially sudden changes.
Cataracts are removed with surgery. An ophthalmologist removes the cataract and replaces it with an artificial lens. The artificial lens is also called an intraocular lens or IOL. Surgery is the only effective cataract treatment. No eye drops or medications can remove or reduce cataracts.
About cataract surgery
If vision changes are making it difficult to work, read, drive, or keeping you from doing everyday activities you enjoy, it may be time to have cataract surgery.
When to have cataract surgery depends on several factors, including:
- Your needs and preferences
- Your doctor’s evaluation
- Any risks or other eye conditions
- When your insurance covers surgery
About 95 percent of people who have cataract surgery see better after the procedure. But if another eye condition affects your vision, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, you might not have good vision even after cataract surgery. Talk with your doctor about:
- How much cataract surgery could improve your vision
- Surgery risks if you have another eye condition
- If the benefits of cataract surgery are greater than the risks
At Oregon Eye Specialists, our ophthalmologists include some of the most experienced cataract surgeons in the Northwest. Your surgery is done in a comfortable eye surgery facility with the latest equipment and an experienced, caring staff.
What is the surgery experience like?
Cataract surgery is done at a surgery center with no overnight hospital stay. The surgery itself lasts about 30 minutes – and you will be discharged (leave the surgery center) within 1 hour after surgery.
Cataract surgery is done with local anesthesia (numbing drops in your eye) and a light sedative (we don’t have to put you fully to sleep). You are generally very relaxed and comfortable. An anesthesiologist will be with you during the procedure to help ensure your safety and comfort.
During the surgery, your doctor makes a tiny incision at the side of your eye. A small probe with ultrasound (sound waves) is used to break up the cataract. The cloudy tissue is removed with suction. The lens sac is left in place, and the new artificial lens (IOL) rests in that lens sac. You usually wear a protective shield over your eye for a few days to 1 week after surgery.
About IOLs (Intraocular Lenses)
At Oregon Eye Specialists, we offer the most advanced lens implants after cataract removal. An intraocular lens (IOL) works by replacing the focusing power of your eye’s natural lens. Today’s IOL technology can give you better vision – often without glasses – than before cataract surgery. These premium intraocular lenses (IOLs) give you the best possible vision. With premium IOLs, many people never need glasses after cataract surgery, or only wear them occasionally.
Your options include:
- Standard (single-focus) IOLs
- Multifocal and toric IOLs, for your best vision without glasses
Your Oregon Eye Specialists physician thoroughly evaluates your eyes before recommending an IOL. We’ll also talk about your work, hobbies and other activities to make sure your IOL fits your lifestyle. Because your eyes are so important for everything you do, selecting an IOL is a very personal decision. At Oregon Eye Specialists, your doctor will help you consider all your options.
Talk to your doctor about whether cataract surgery is right for you, and what some of the risks may include. Get ready for brighter days ahead!
If you have symptoms of cataracts or another eye condition, we invite you to make an appointment today at one of our clinics.