Cataract Awareness: PreventBlindness.org · Cataract Surgery
Hersh Vision Institute · New Jersey Eye Doctors
Sources: Vision Institute Group; Corneal Associates of NJ
A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that affects a person’s vision. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world and affect more than 22 million Americans aged 40 and older. Studies have shown that the risk for cataract development can be reduced by taking preventative measures in your younger years.
One easy step is to wear sunglasses, especially in the summer months when ultraviolet radiation from the sun is at its strongest. When choosing a new pair of sunglasses be certain that they are 100 percent UV-absorbent. Other preventable measures to take against cataracts include quitting smoking and consuming alcohol in moderation, as both activities increase your chances of cataract formation.
Cataracts in adults develop slowly and painlessly. That’s why it is important to have your eyes examined on a regular basis as early diagnosis of cataracts is extremely helpful in maintaining good eye health.
Modern day cataract surgery is routinely performed with small incision micro-surgery through a process known as “phacoemulsification”. The cataract is removed through the smallest possible incision, and the lens is removed by an ultrasonic probe. The hardened cataract is removed and a state-of-the-art intraocular lens is used as a replacement.
After the eye has been sterilized and the pupil is dilated, the surgeon makes a tiny incision using a highly specialized microscope. The micro-incision is created at the junction of the cornea and the white part of the eye, known as the sclera. The lens capsule is opened, and the ultrasonic probe is inserted. The ultrasonic probe then pulverizes the cataract and suctions out the cataract material.
After the cataract is removed, the surgeon implants an artificial intraocular lens. The lens is a foldable lens that slides through a tube and unfolds in the same open space the cataract once occupied. Once the lens is centered, the surgery is complete. In most cases, no stitches are required to seal the incision.