A cataract refers to a clouding of the natural lens of the eye that results in blurred vision. Cataracts most commonly develop with age. They may also be caused by diseases such as diabetes or form as a side effect of some medications. Rarely, they may be congenital or result from trauma. Not all cataracts need to be removed, but surgery is the only way to improve vision once a cataract becomes significantly symptomatic.
Cataract extraction is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the developed world. During the surgery, a small ultrasonic probe is inserted into the eye to break up the cataract into tiny pieces and gently aspirate those pieces out of the eye. Phaco surgery requires a small incision of only 3 mm or less. After the cataract is removed, a lens implant is inserted in its place through the same small incision. These intraocular lenses (IOL’s) are made of a flexible material, allowing them to be folded for implantation. Once inside the eye, the lens unfolds and returns to its original shape.
To make your procedure as painless as possible, a combination of local and/or topical anesthesia along with IV sedation is used. General anesthesia is not required. The procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes, although the time may vary for each patient. This is outpatient surgery, and you can expect to leave the surgical center in a few hours with an eye patch and/or an eye shield. There is a follow-up visit the next day and then several more visits at increasing intervals. Drops and some precautions are necessary to achieve a safe recovery and the best possible visual acuity.
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.
Corneal transplants 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.
DSAEK (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.
Myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism result when light rays are not focused properly on the retina by the cornea and the lens of the eye. These conditions are normally corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Laser refractive surgery allows an eye surgeon to subtly change the shape of the cornea in order to reduce or eliminate the need to wear glasses or contact lenses.
LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a safe, reliable and painless refractive procedure. During the surgery, a corneal flap is formed using a laser (IntraLase) or a device called a microkeratome. The flap is then lifted, an excimer laser beam reshapes the cornea, and the flap is closed. The entire procedure takes only 15-30 minutes per eye, and patients are often ready to leave within an hour or two. The flap heals on its own within a few days, although full recovery can take several weeks.
PRK or photorefractive keratectomy is one of the safest and most time-tested laser vision correction procedures available. As in LASIK, the cornea is reshaped, but without first making a corneal flap. A careful pre-operative examination is used to determine whether LASIK or PRK is appropriate for each patient.
Uveitis refers to inflammation of the eye. The inflammation may be caused by an infection or by an error of the immune system. Infectious uveitis is generally treated by eliminating or controlling the infection. Autoimmune uveitis often requires local or systemic immune suppression. This disease may be acute, recurrent, or chronic, and may be related to rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, sarcoidosis, shingles or other systemic conditions. Patients with uveitis experience pain, redness, light sensitivity, floaters, or blurred vision. Poorly controlled or severe uveitis may lead to blindness. Prompt diagnosis and specialized treatment are essential.
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve associated with high pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure). Because this condition is usually painless and may initially affect only peripheral vision, many patients are not aware that they have glaucoma. Lowering eye pressure is the only treatment available for this condition.
Most cases of glaucoma can be treated with medications. For others, laser or traditional surgery is required to lower eye pressure. Our doctors perform the following glaucoma laser surgeries:
Dry eye occurs when the eyes are not adequately moisturized, leading to irritation, redness, decreased vision and pain. The eyes may be dry and irritated because the tear glands do not produce enough tears or because the tears have a chemical imbalance. Dry eye is a very common condition that increases with age, but can also come about as a result of injury, disease, or the use of certain medications. Fortunately, many treatment options are available.