Cataract surgery is an extremely common procedure, with an average of 2 million procedures performed in the US each year. Cataract surgery is used to restore vision after cataract development. Cataracts are very common, generally occurring as we approach our later years. While cataract surgery is the only treatment available for cataract correction, it has become an extremely simple and quick procedure. Mere decades ago, cataract surgery required a stay at the hospital, and a long healing process. With today’s technology, cataract surgery is now an outpatient procedure and healing time has been significantly reduced. With the introduction of laser cataract surgery, cataract surgery is now better than ever.
How are Cataracts formed?
Cataracts occur when the natural crystalline lens in the eye begins to fog, making it difficult to let light into the eye. Cataracts develop slowly over time, and can lead to blindness. Cataracts can be extremely frustrating, and can keep you from enjoying activities such as reading. Luckily, cataracts are completely treatable through surgery at any point in development. For those patients with higher levels of astigmatism a Toric IOL may be recommended. Toric IOLs have different focusing powers in different meridians of the lens. After the lens is implanted, your surgeon will use the lines on the IOL to adjust the Toric lens’ position inside the eye to neutralize the astigmatism, thereby refocusing the light entering the eye to only one point on the retina.
Currently, there is no medical treatment to reverse or prevent the development of cataracts. Once they form, there is only one way to achieve clear vision again, and that is to physically remove the cataract from inside the eye and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). In your parents’ or grandparents’ day, cataract surgery was considered risky, required a lengthy hospital stay, and was usually postponed for as long as possible. Today, cataract surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure and takes only minutes. Patients can then go home and rest in comfort and avoid the inconvenience and expense of staying in a hospital.