What are Cataracts?
Cataracts—a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye—are quite common as the eye ages and are very treatable. Symptoms include blurry vision, light sensitivity, poor night vision, double vision, fading or yellowing of colors and needing brighter light to read. They generally develop over a period of a few months, and are caused by the deterioration of the normal protein structure within the lens of the eye. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss among older adults and may affect up to 60 percent of people more than 65 years old. Occasionally they occur as a congenital defect in infants and children.
Cataract Treatments Include:
No-Stitch & No-Needle Surgery
Dr. Cano uses phacoemulsification, a technique that allows the cataract to be removed through a tiny incision less than mm long using a small ultrasonic probe. The replacement intraocular lens is folded to fit through the same small incision. Once inside the eye, the lens is unfolded and permanently secured. Because there are not stitches used, the recovery period is reduced.
Blade-less Laser Cataract Surgery
Dr. Cano also uses an optional femtosecond laser, a new advanced technique that allows for all the cataract incisions to be made without any blades. In addition to this the cataract is softened by the laser to greatly reduce the energy required to remove it. The laser also allows for incisions to be made to treat astigmatism at the time of cataract surgery. Because of the lower energy used, the recovery period is dramatically shortened.
Multifocal, Accommodating and Toric Intraocular Lenses
There are a number of replacement intraocular lens (IOL) options to consider when having cataract surgery. Original IOLs were monofocal, so clear vision was set at either near, intermediate or far. Patients with monofocal IOLs implanted had to wear glasses following surgery to see clearly at the distances that their lenses did not accommodate. Now there are multifocal and accommodating IOL options that allow clear vision from near to far. There are also Toric IOLs that correct blurry vision caused by astigmatism.
Laser Treatment of Secondary Cataract
During cataract surgery, the inner contents of the natural lens, including the particles of the cataract itself, are broken down and removed, leaving the capsule or back of the lens intact. In some cases, cells of the cataract are unintentionally left behind and overtime these will begin to form a membrane or film over the replacement intraocular lens (IOL) causing similar symptoms as the original cataract. This condition is known as secondary cataract. Fortunately, this condition can be treated with laser surgery that removes the secondary cataract with no incision or contact with the eye. The procedure is typically safe, effective, relatively quick and can be accomplished in the doctor’s office within several minutes. Contrary to popular believe, this is the only type of laser procedure used in the treatment of cataracts. There has been no form of laser surgery approved for initial cataract surgery.