Cataract Diagnosis and Management in Lebanon
Cataracts will eventually affect a majority of people at some point in their lifetime. Our Valley Vision Eyecare optometrists encourage regular eye exams for early detection and treatment. We understand you may have many questions, so here is some important information you should know regarding cataracts. We offer co-management services for all of our patients!
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a natural age related change that occurs in the lens that is located inside the eye behind the iris, the colored part of the eye. Normally, a clear lens focuses light on the retina, which sends a clear image back to the brain. When the lens is clouded by a cataract, light is scattered and the brain is no longer receiving a clear image, causing vision problems. This clouding is caused by physiological changes to the properties of the lens. When the cataracts are bothersome enough to the patient, it is time to have a conversation about surgery to remove that cloudy lens and replace it with a clear one.
What causes Cataracts?
Most cataracts are due to age but there are a number of other factors and/or agents that can contribute to cataract formation. These include diabetes, certain pharmaceutical drugs such as corticosteroids and even ultraviolet radiation. On rare occasion cataracts are present at birth or can be quickly induced due to eye injury.
How is a Cataract diagnosed?
At the initial examination with your optometrist, you will go through a complete health history as well as provide a comprehensive list of medications for us to review. Visual acuity with be measured and a refraction will be perform to determine what your best corrected vision is with or without glasses, and to what extent a cataract may be limiting clear vision. A full dilation is necessary to evaluate the entire lens and properly grade the severity of the cataract. Evaluation of the retina is also important and will be performed to rule out any pathological inhibitors that could possibly deter you from surgery. We will talk extensively about your current quality of life and determine if cataract surgery is something for you to consider. After all testing has concluded and you have been identified as a cataract surgery candidate, we will talk through what the day of surgery is going to look like.
How is a Cataract treated?
After we refer you to see the surgeon, you will need to be seen for a consultation by the ophthalmologist before you go in for the surgery. They will be doing a couple extra tests and measurements that day to confirm that you are ready. They will also go through the various types of intraocular lens implants that are available for you to choose. The surgery will not take place on the same day as the consultation. Cataract surgery is performed one eye at a time, usually a few weeks apart from each other. Be prepared to have a daily eye drop regimen that starts a few days before surgery and last up to a month after surgery, although some new procedures require less drops than ever before. On the day of surgery make sure you bring someone with you, this is an outpatient surgery, but your eyes may feel a little irritated and having someone to drive you home will be necessary. After the surgery is completed you will either come back to see us at Valley Vision Eyecare the next day or you may follow up with the ophthalmologist for that 1 day follow up. You will then be directed back to us, if you haven’t already, for an additional 1 month follow up appointment. The goal of cataract surgery is to bring clarity back into your world and that may or may not require eye glasses. We will make that determination around the 1 month appointment to allow ample time for healing of the eyes before prescribing glasses.