is a Cataract?
A cataract is present when the lens
of the eye becomes cloudy. The lens is located behind the iris,
which is the colored part of the eye. The lens helps focus the rays
of light coming from an object to form an image on the retina located
at the back of the eye.
More than fifty percent of people over
60 years of age suffer from cataracts. Looking through a cataract
is similar to looking through a window that is frosted or fogged
Common symptoms include painless blurring
of vision, need for brighter lights to read, glare or light sensitivity,
double vision in one eye, fading or yellowing of colors, and frequent
eyeglass prescription changes.
WHAT CAUSES CATARACTS?
The most common cause of a cataract
is aging of the eye. Other causes include family history, medical
problems such as diabetes, injury to the eye, and medications such
as steroids. A cataract cannot be caused by overusing the eyes.
This is a common misconception.
HOW IS A CATARACT
Currently there is no medical treatment
shown to reverse or prevent cataracts. However, sunglasses that
filter out ultraviolet light rays or regular glasses with a clear
anti-ultraviolet coating may help prevent or slow the progression
of cataracts. Once a cataract forms, there is only one way to achieve
clear vision again, and that is by surgically removing the cataract
from the eye.
In the early stages, stronger glasses
can usually partially compensate for blurred vision from a cataract.
When you believe the cataract is starting to interfere with your
quality of life, it is time to consider surgery. The decision to
proceed with surgery is yours and depends on your daily activities
and your lifestyle.
HOW IS SURGERY PERFORMED?
Cataract surgery is performed on an
outpatient basis and only takes a few minutes. Since topical anesthetic
eye drops are used, there is no needle injection which can be risky
and painful. Needle injection also delays visual recovery and could
cause temporary swelling and eyelid skin discoloration. A small
incision (about 1/8") is made. An instrument is introduced
in the eye and is used to break up the cataract into small particles
using high energy sound waves. These particles are gently suctioned
from the eye. This technique is called phacoemulsification. The
cataract is then replaced with a clear lens implant in order to
restore the eye’s focusing ability. Since the incision is self-sealing,
no stitches are required. No eye patch is necessary. Dr. Khouri
is fully versed in the latest techniques of cataract surgery.
These include the use of premium lens implants such as “Crystalens”
made by “Bausch and Lomb”
and the multifocal
Tecnis lens made by "Allergan Medical Optics" to reduce or eliminate the dependence on
glasses for distance , near and everywhere in between. They also
include the use of limbal relaxing incisions in the cornea or
“Acrysof” toric lens implants made by “Alcon” to reduce or eliminate
I EXPECT FROM CATARACT SURGERY
Over 1.4 million people undergo cataract
surgery in the U.S. yearly, and over 98% of them experience improved
vision. Everyone heals somewhat differently, but many patients notice
visual improvement almost immediately after the procedure and return
to their normal lifestyle routine within a day or two.
Once cataracts are surgically removed,
they do not grow back. However, some patients may experience clouding
of the natural capsule that supports the lens implant. In this case,
a laser is used to painlessly open the cloudy capsule and restore
clear vision almost immediately.