WHAT IS IT?
A cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye.
WHY DOES IT OCCUR?
Normally, light passes through the clear lens and is focused onto the retina. However, the natural aging process can cause the lens to become cloudy. The cataract, or cloudy lens, blocks the passage of light through the eye and causes distorted or blurred vision, glare, or difficulty seeing in poor lighting conditions.
HOW COMMON IS IT?
There are 20.5 million cases of early cataracts among Americans aged 40 and older, and 50 percent of people older than 65 have developed significant cataracts. (National Institutes of Health)
HOW IS IT TREATED?
Fortunately, vision can be restored quickly with surgery. The treatment itself is painless and is performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you do not need to stay overnight in a hospital. To begin, your surgeon will administer a light sedative which will relax your nerves and keep you comfortable during the procedure. Anesthetic eye drops will be used to completely numb the eye. The entire procedure is performed through an incision that is smaller than 1/8 of an inch and does not require stitches to heal.
Once the cataract is removed, an intra-ocular lens (IOL) is placed where the cataract lens was removed, to restore your sight. Most patients will not require an eye patch and will not have any discomfort.
Most patients can return to their normal daily routines; including reading, driving, and exercise, the day after surgery.