Technology has given patients more time and flexibility when scheduling cataract surgery. Before the newest laser techniques, patients were advised to wait until a cataract was said to be “ripe” — mature enough to be easily removed from the surface of the eye. Now cataracts can be removed at any stage of development.
Below, the experienced vision care professionals of Austin Eye review some of the variables to consider when timing your cataract surgery.
Although today it is possible to remove cataracts at very early stages, patients now have the freedom to wait. If a patient has normal vision and doesn’t experience some of the activity-limiting symptoms such as cloudy vision, trouble reading or glare during nighttime driving, there is no need to remove the cataract quickly.
It is also true that you should not ignore cataracts. As a cataract develops beyond the ripe stage, it becomes harder, making it more difficult to remove in a surgical procedure. Left untreated long enough, cataracts can inflame the eye or cause elevated eye pressure. High intraocular pressure often leads to glaucoma, the serious condition that damages the optic nerve and may result in total loss of vision.
Removal of cataracts and replacement with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant is the world’s most commonly performed surgical procedurey. There are no real negatives to replacing your clouded cataract with an IOL. The implant is designed to become a permanent part of your eye. It will not be rejected by your body or wear out. And because it is made of a special material, it will remain clear for a lifetime.
As a leader in vision care and eye surgery, Austin Eye offers state-of-the-art cataract surgical procedures to patients throughout Texas. Originally performed with the use of a miniature blade, cataract removal can now be done using an advanced laser to make incisions. Austin Eye ophthalmologists use the LenSx femtosecond laser, an ultra-precise instrument that makes possible greater precision for the surgeon and faster recovery for the patient.
Once you have made the decision to schedule your cataract surgery, the choices have just begun. Gone are the days when surgeons implanted the same type of lens for every patient. New varieties not only replace clouded cataracts, but also feature the ability to focus at various distances.
These advanced lenses may reduce or eliminate a patient’s need for glasses or contacts after cataract surgery. One incredible new breakthrough is the AcrySof IQ PanOptix intraocular lens. PanOptix lenses are the first IOLs to offer trifocal vision, providing clear focus at near, intermediate and far distances.
Other choices include AcrySof ReSTOR and TECNIS multifocal lenses that use a special surface design to bring close and distant objects into focus without eye muscle assistance. The Crystalens AO Accommodating Lens performs this same function by using your eye’s natural muscle.
If you would like to learn more about cataract surgery or IOL options, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation with one of the board-certified ophthalmologists at Austin Eye. Contact us by calling our North office at (512) 250-2020 or our Central office at (512) 454-2020.