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2120 Northgate Park Lane
Suite 102
Chattanooga, TN 37415

Phone:(423) 702-2020
Fax: (423) 702-2021

Cataract Surgery and Premium Lenses

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. The lens is a clear part of the eye that helps to focus light, or an image, on the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

In a normal eye, light passes through the transparent lens to the retina. Once it reaches the retina, light is changed into nerve signals that are sent to the brain.

In a normal eye, light passes through the transparent lens to the retina. Once it reaches the retina, light is changed into nerve signals that are sent to the brain.

A cataract can occur in either or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other.

Most cataracts are related to aging. Cataracts are very common in older people. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.

A cataract needs to be removed only when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV. You and your eye care professional can make this decision together.

Common Symptoms

The most common symptoms of a cataract are

  • cloudy or blurry vision and poor night vision
  • glare -- headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright or a halo may appear around lights
  • double vision or multiple images in one eye
  • frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Tests for Cataract

Cataract is detected through a comprehensive eye exam that includes a visual acuity test, dilated eye exam, and tonometry.

  • The visual acuity test is an eye chart test that measures how well you see at various distances.
  • In the dilated eye exam, drops are placed in your eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils. Your eye care professional uses a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage and other eye problems.
  • In tonometry, an instrument measures the pressure inside the eye. Numbing drops may be applied to your eye for this test.

Dealing with Symptoms

The symptoms of early cataract may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.

Is Surgery Right For You?

Once you understand the benefits and risks of surgery, you can make an informed decision about whether cataract surgery is right for you. In most cases, delaying cataract surgery will not cause long-term damage to your eye or make the surgery more difficult. You do not have to rush into surgery.

Sometimes a cataract should be removed even if it does not cause problems with your vision. For example, a cataract should be removed if it prevents examination or treatment of another eye problem, such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.

If you choose surgery, your eye care professional may refer you to a specialist to remove the cataract. If you have cataracts in both eyes that require surgery, the surgery will be performed on each eye at separate times, usually four to eight weeks apart.

Cataract removal is one of the most common operations performed in the United States. It also is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery. In about 90 percent of cases, people who have cataract surgery have better vision afterward.

Source: NIH Senior Health