Cataracts Causing You Blurred Vision- What’s Next?
Cataract surgery is next up in part 2 of a 3-part series on cataracts. Now that you have found out that you have cataracts and you are having enough difficulty with your vision that you have decided to have surgery so that you can improve your vision, what is next? Your eye doctor cannot change your glass prescription to improve your vision. Therefore, surgery is next.
Workup Prior To Your Cataract Surgery
First, you need a thorough complete eye examination. You need to make sure that you don’t have any other eye disease that could affect the outcome of your surgery such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, or other eye diseases. Then your eye surgeon is going to perform several tests on your eyes so that they can give you guidance on the best surgery for you. Some of these tests may include a visual field test, Pentacam, IOL master, Lenstar, specular endothelial microscopy, eye dominance, corneal topography, and i-Trace.
The i-Trace instrument gives a significant amount of information about your eyes. It measures the aberrations in your vision is very important data needed to help you with your decision. Everyone has aberrations in their vision even if you have better than 20/20 vision and no glass prescription. The i-Trace gives the eye surgeon the data about aberrations due to then shape of your cornea (clear front portion of the eye) and aberrations secondary to your cataract and lens inside your eye. It also provides the asphericity of your cornea and the alignment of your visual axis compared to the center of your pupil. All this information is very important if you are considering a multi-focal intraocular lens. Many people are not good candidates for this type of lens if there are too many aberrations and alignment of the visual axis is not optimum.
The Lenstar and IOL master are the 2 most common instruments used for determining the power of the intraocular lens that is going to be used to correct your vision during the surgery. These instruments take a variety of measurements of the eye.
Once the eye surgeon has the information they need to help you with the decision-making process on the variety of options you have with your cataract surgery, then you will make the decision on the type of surgery you are going to have performed on your eye and the type of intraocular lens that will be inserted into the eye.
What is Cataract Surgery?
In simple terms, the cloudy lens inside your eye is removed and a new artificial lens is placed back inside the eye to help correct your vision. The power or strength of the lens was determined by the instruments in the office. Your natural lens has a certain amount of focusing power that needs to be replaced or you would have very poor vision if you only had the cataract removed and no lens replacement in almost all cases. The great news is that the intraocular lens can correct any prior refractive error that you had prior to the surgery. If you are near-sighted or far-sighted, the strength of the new artificial lens can correct it in most cases.
The Steps of Having Cataract Surgery
In most cases, you eye surgery will be performed in an ambulatory surgery center. There some places in the United States where the surgery is performed in a hospital on an out-patient basis. You will be admitted to the surgery center and taken to the pre-op area. You will lie down on a stretcher and an IV will be started. In most cases, it will just be the tubing without any IV bottle. You will be given medications in the IV to relax you. You will not be put to sleep or have general anesthesia except in very rare circumstances.