Cataract surgery is performed to replace the natural lens of the eye that has become cloudy with a clear artificial lens. This is a minimally invasive procedure done on an outpatient basis. An anesthesiologist is present during the procedure to help make the patient comfortable with medicine delivered through an IV.
Cataracts affect more than half of all Americans age 60 and older causing a progressive, painless loss of vision, as well as:
- Blurring and loss of contrast sensitivity
- Sensitivity to bright light
- Vision that has a yellow tinge
- A change in prescription
- Poor night time vision and glare
- Double vision
Our doctors perform a minimally invasive, small-incision cataract surgery called phacoemulsification. During this procedure, a tiny incision is made in the eye making room for a small ultrasonic probe. This probe breaks up, or emulsifies, the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The lens pieces are then suctioned out through the probe.
After the cloudy lens has been removed, an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted in the eye. The IOL is inserted through the same small incision that was made to remove the original lens. It is usually then secured in the eye using the same tissue that held the natural lens in place.
The cornea is the clear covering in the front of the eye which bends, or refracts, light rays as they enter the eye. For clear vision to occur, the cornea must have the correct shape and clarity to focus incoming light rays precisely on the retina at the back of the eye. When the cornea becomes cloudy or misshapen from injury, infection or disease, transplantation may be recommended to replace it.
are usually performed with local anesthesia so there is no pain. During the procedure, the cornea is replaced with one from a human donor. The new cornea carries little risk of rejection and can last for many years.
(Descemet-stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty) is the latest technique in corneal transplantation. DSAEK offers clear post-operative vision and short recovery time, but is available to only certain patients in need of new corneas.
Uveitis is the inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye, which contains the iris, ciliary body and the choroid. The uvea is located between the retina and sclera, the white of the eye. The uvea provides most of the blood to various parts of the eye with its numerous veins and arteries.
Uveitis is generally divided into auto-immune uveitis and infectious uveitis. Auto-immune uveitis is treated by suppressing the immune system with drops, injections, or systemic medications. Infectious uveitis is treated by controlling the infection. Uveitis can result in complications that include glaucoma, cataracts, and scarring inside the eye. Uveitis may also be associated with systemic diseases such as arthritis.
A pterygium is a painless, non-cancerous growth of the conjunctiva, the lining that covers the white part of the eye. The pterygium may grow on the cornea, which covers the iris, the colored part of the eye. A pterygium usually begins at the nasal side of the eye and can be different colors, including red, pink, white, yellow or gray.
Patients with pterygium often first notice the condition because of the appearance of a lesion on their eye or because of dry, itchy irritation, tearing or redness. Pterygium is initially noticed when it is confined only to the conjunctiva. At this stage of development it is called a pinguecula. As it extends to the cornea it is termed a pterygium and can eventually lead to impaired vision.
Causes of Pterygium
While the causes of pterygium are not entirely known, it is believed to be caused mainly by exposure to UV light. Other suspected causes include living in a dry, dusty, and windy environment. People who live near the equator or play water sports such as surfing and fishing are more likely to develop pterygium. Prolonged exposure to these conditions causes the conjunctiva to thicken and the eye to become red and irritated. Collagen in the eye begins to deteriorate, and the eye weakens.
Studies show that there may also be a genetic predisposition to pterygium, with a higher prevalence in men than in women.
Symptoms of Pterygium
Symptoms of pterygium include:
- Tissue in the inner or outer corner of the eye
- Dry eyes
- Redness of the eye
- Burning of the eye
- Blurry vision
In more severe cases, the pterygium may grow over the pupil and limit vision.
For further information, go to GetEyeSmart.org, maintained by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.