Cataractscauses, symptoms and treatments

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Last updated 3/7/2024
Cataract Conditions, Assil Gaur Eye Institute Los Angeles

With cataracts, vision becomes cloudy. blurry, hazy, and/or less colorful.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding or yellowing of the eye lens that negatively impacts vision. They progress slowly, and the lens's cloudy area gets bigger, making it hard to see. Cataract is the leading cause of preventable blindness, accounting for 50% of blindness worldwide. 

 

Once a cataract reduces your vision, no medications, eye drops, glasses, or exercises can reverse the process. The only way to treat a cataract is to surgically remove the damaged lens and replace it with an artificial clear lens called an intraocular lens.

What causes cataracts?

 

Most cataracts develop when aging changes the tissue that makes up the eye's lens. Proteins and fibers in the lens break down, causing vision to become hazy or cloudy. This is called age-related cataracts.

 

However, cataracts are not only age-related; babies are also born with them (called congenital cataracts) from conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma/CPOD (due to prolonged steroid use) called secondary cataract or head trauma (traumatic cataracts)

 

As the cataract matures, it reduces your vision over time, and medications, eye drops, glasses, or exercises cannot reverse the process. The only way to treat cataracts” is to surgically remove them and replace the damaged lens with a new clear lens.

 

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

  • Your vision becomes cloudy, blurred, or double vision.
  • Your eyes are light and glare-sensitive.
  • You will have difficulty with night vision.
  • Colors begin fading, appear less vibrant or have a yellowing tint. 
  • You will see halos around lights.
  • You’ll need better lighting for reading.
  • Frequent changes to an eyeglass prescription.

 

It’s important to note that you may experience all or just a few of the symptoms above. 

 

Can cataracts be treated without surgery?

No! Cataracts cannot be treated without surgery; Frequent prescription changes for new eyeglasses, anti-glare sunglasses, lens tints, and lifestyle changes can help temporarily. But the only way to fix a cataract and restore your vision is with surgery.

 

Early cataract intervention can help retain and regain the quality of vision missed. Surgical removal of cataracts is almost always recommended when vision loss interferes with everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV.

 

Is cataract surgery safe? 

Yes. Cataract surgery is a safe, routine procedure. AGEI performs the most advanced cataract procedures and technology. About 95% of our patients have no stitches or patching and go home in a few hours. Thus, problems during and after cataract surgery are rare in our experienced surgeon's hands.

 

Is cataract surgery painful? 

Modern cataract surgical procedures are virtually painless and have no bleeding, Your AGEI surgical team will numb the surface of your eye using anesthetic eyedrops so that you won’t feel anything during surgery. You may also receive medicine to help you relax. 

 

You’ll be awake during your surgery; the inoperative eye will be draped, and an instrument called a speculum will hold the surgical eye open. You may feel slight pressure during the procedure, and this is normal. 

 

Schedule your cataract consultation now!

 

What can I expect during cataract surgery? 

Our cataract surgeons use a Femtosecond laser to create a tiny 2-millimeter incision through which the entire surgery is performed. 

 

The laser is then used to access and soften your cloudy natural lens so that it can be easily broken up using gentle ultrasound energy. A new, permanent lens, called an intraocular lens, replaces the clouded lens that was removed.

 

Learn about cataract surgery recovery here.

 

What are my replacement intraocular lens options? 

Patients can choose from two types of lenses:

 

Mono-focal IOL lens 

A single-vision lens allows patients to see sharply at one focal point, and they will need glasses for driving or reading. This lens is covered by insurance.

 

Premium IOL lens 

Premium lenses, such as Johnson & Johnson's state-of-the-art Odyssey IOL, are sight-correcting lenses that can restore sharp vision by correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Basically, we can restore eyeglasses' vision (or better) without you having to wear eyeglasses! Premium IOL lenses are generally not covered by insurance.

 

Learn more about our premium IOL lens options here.

 

Experience Assil Gaur Eye Institute cataract surgery advantage 

At the Assil Gaur Eye Institute, your vision is our mission. With us, you are not treated just as a patient but as a part of our family. We are committed to providing exceptional, personalized care to protect and improve your vision.

 

Advanced Technology

Assil Gaur Eye Institute stands at the forefront of technological advancements in eye care. Our facility boasts state-of-the-art equipment that ensures the most precise and effective treatment for cataracts. This and the latest surgical techniques ensure a speedy recovery with the least discomfort.

 

Expert Surgeons

Our team of renowned surgeons are not only leaders in the field but are dedicated to each patient's needs. With years of specialized training, developing leading-edge techniques, and a wealth of experience in cataract surgery, we deliver the highest standards of care, resulting in successful outcomes and satisfied patients.

 

Patient Care

Assil Gaur Eye Institute is distinguished by its holistic approach to patient care. We believe in not just treating the condition but also in providing comprehensive support and care. Our patient-centric approach ensures you feel listened to, respected, and confident in the care you receive. We are dedicated to providing the very best post-operative cataract treatment anywhere.

 

Education and Engagement

We believe in empowering our patients through knowledge. Our team invests time in ensuring you fully understand your condition and treatment options. This helps you to make an informed decision about your care.

 

Track Record

Trust is not given; it's earned. At Assil Gaur Eye Institute, our track record of successful surgeries and the positive feedback from our patients speaks for itself. We strive to uphold our reputation as the most trusted place for cataract surgery.

 

In short, Assil Gaur Eye Institute combines world-class technology, expert surgeons, personalized care, patient education, and a strong track record to provide the best and most trusted service in cataract surgery. Trust us to provide the care you deserve because every eye is precious at Assil Gaur Eye Institute.

 

Our eye centers are conveniently located for patients throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area in or near Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Culver City, Hollywood, Venice, Marina del Rey, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, and Downtown Los Angeles.

 

In addition to laser cataract surgery, the ophthalmologists at AGEI are nationally recognized in the treatment options for a full range of conditions, including macular degeneration, glaucoma, floaters and flashes, dry eye, presbyopia, keratoconus, diabetic retinopathy as well as LASIK laser eye surgery and much more.

 


Cataract surgery FAQs 

How is my cataract surgery recovery?

Following your surgery, you may have been given prescriptions for eye drops to prevent infection, control inflammation, and perhaps even control eye pressure.

 

You will initially experience blurry vision, but it will start improving within a day or two as your eye heals and slight swelling diminishes. 

 

Before you know it, colors will appear brighter if you select a premium lens replacement, and your distance vision will also be improved. Patients selecting a standard lens replacement are encouraged to see their optometrist once both eyes are healed for their new prescription glasses. In most cases, the eye will recover fully within eight to twelve weeks after the surgery.

What are the most common after effects of cataract surgery? 

Many patients develop what is called a secondary cataract. This can occur in 3 to 6 months after cataract surgery. Scar tissues build up around the capsular bag that holds the new lens in place; this condition is known as Posterior Capsular Opacification (PCO).

 

Luckily, PCO is quickly resolved with a laser treatment performed in a few minutes during an office visit and is covered by most medical insurance. Treatment, known as a YAG capsulotomy, is performed. It involves removing the cloudy portion of the posterior lens capsule with a high-beam laser. This procedure is painless and clears the vision immediately. 

Does Medicare cover cataract surgery?

Medicare generally does not pay for vision care but will cover certain medically necessary services, such as cataract surgery. Specifically, Medicare covers the following:

 

  • the removal of the cataract
  • basic lens implants
  • one set of prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses after the surgery

How long does cataract removal surgery take?

At AEI, the actual surgery takes about 10 minutes per eye. Immediately following your surgery, you'll be asked to rest in the recovery area for 30 minutes until your eye drop anesthesia wears off. 

Can cataracts come back?

Cataract removal surgery involves removing the cataract-damaged lens from the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens implant. This new artificial lens cannot develop a cataract, meaning the patient will never have a cataract in that eye again.

What are the disadvantages of cataract surgery?

A very small percentage of patients who undergo cataract surgery develop a condition known as Posterior Capsular Opacification (PCO). Luckily, PCO is easily treated by a laser treatment performed in a few minutes during an office visit. 

Are cataracts hereditary?

Based on the results of all published studies, genetics may play a role in 50% of age-related cataracts, with the remainder due to aging, systemic factors, and environmental factors.

How long can cataract surgery be postponed?

For the vast majority, cataract surgery is not urgent and can be safely delayed until the person wishes to pursue it. However, there are some drawbacks to postponing cataract surgery. Patients who wait for surgery may experience more vision loss, reduced quality of life, and an increased risk of falls.

Will I have to stay in the hospital after cataract surgery? 

No. Your procedure is performed at our outpatient surgery center, and you will go home the same day.

What do you see during cataract surgery?

Patients report seeing the light or movement but don't see what's happening to their eyes.

When is it too late to have cataract surgery? 

There comes a point in time when cataract surgery is more difficult to perform than it would have been if not left untreated. When left alone, cataracts become denser and further impair one's vision. When the cataract has become thicker, it becomes more difficult to remove and has a higher chance of causing complications during surgery.

Do you wear an eye patch after cataract surgery?

Once your cataract eye surgery is completed, a clear plastic shield will be placed over your eye for protection. It's important to wear the shield as instructed by your doctor — the shield is more protective than a standard eye patch and will help prevent any dust or potential injury as you heal. You may be instructed to sleep with the shield for at least one week after surgery.

How soon can I get reading glasses after cataract surgery?

Most folks need reading glasses or contact lenses, for at least some time, following cataract surgery. Your doctor will let you know when your eyes have stabilized enough for you to get a final prescription for glasses or lenses. This is usually from one to three months post-op.

 

If you opt to have a premium intraocular lens (IOL for short), you will benefit from crisp vision at various ranges from near to far distances. Your eye surgeon can recommend which lenses best fit your lifestyle and visual demands.

Can you have both glaucoma and cataracts?

Yes, a person can have both glaucoma and cataracts. Glaucoma and cataracts are different eye conditions that can occur simultaneously in some individuals.

How are cataracts diagnosed?

Cataracts are typically diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam conducted by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. The diagnosis involves several steps and may include the following: medical history, visual acuity test, slit-lamp exam, retinal exam, and visual function tests.

What are the different cataract lens options?

Monofocal lenses are correct for only one focusing distance. Typically, people will have these lenses fitted for distance vision and will need glasses for reading.

 

Premium multifocal lenses are IOLs with varying magnifications at different sections of the lens so that you can see clearly at various distances.

What is the best cataract lens for astigmatism?

Something called a Toric IOLs is specifically designed to correct astigmatism. A toric lens has different powers in different meridians to address the irregular curvature of the cornea associated with astigmatism.

What if I experience cataract halos after surgery? 

Experiencing eye halos around lights after cataract surgery is relatively common and typically temporary.

What are posterior subcapsular cataracts?

Of all the different types of cataracts, posterior subcapsular cataract develops the fastest. this type of cataract forms at the back of the lens, right inside the capsule that surrounds it.

 

 

References

IOL Implants: Lens Replacement and Cataract Surgery. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/cataracts-iol-implants

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