Our mission at Columbus Ophthalmology Associates is to preserve, enhance and improve vision. We feel the best way to do this is not only to offer the latest in ophthalmic surgery, but also to provide information and education to our patients and their families. The following information was designed to help our patients understand cataracts and their treatment. Please take the time to read this information and write down any questions that you may have. If you still have concerns regarding your eye care, please do not hesitate to ask one of our surgeons. We will continue to strive to provide you with the safest, most effective surgical options. It is our sincere wish that you and your family members enjoy a rewarding quality of life as a result of these techniques.
The eye is a remarkable organ and works very similar to a camera. Inside the eye there is a lens, a clear structure located just behind the pupil. This lens focuses light onto the retina where the images are collected and transmitted to the brain. If the lens becomes cloudy, it is called a cataract and images will be blurred or distorted much like looking through a window that is covered with ice. Cataracts are a common problem and are usually a result of the aging process. Many patients, however, can develop cataracts at an early age, often related to their genetic history, certain illnesses or even medications. Symptoms of a cataract can be very subtle in the early stages. Therefore, any change in your vision should be investigated for the possibility of a cataract.
This photo simulates a comparison of vision impaired by cataracts (left) versus normal vision (right).
From a medical standpoint, there is really no good way to slow the progression of cataracts. Research is currently being done using vitamin therapy to determine if it will help stop the growth of a cataract. However, there is no evidence that shows diet, exercise or vitamin therapy can slow down or prevent cataract development. In addition, studies have shown that certain diseases like diabetes can actually increase the risk for a cataract. Patients especially susceptible to cataracts include those taking steroids for chronic problems like arthritis, asthma and after organ transplant surgery.
The surgical treatment of cataracts has significantly improved in the past decade. Intraocular lenses have been part of surgery since the 1950’s in one form or another. Unlike contact lenses that require periodic cleaning, an intraocular lens (IOL), is permanently placed in the eye after the cataract has been removed. (Remember the cataract is the human lens that has been clouded and the new lens is needed to provide the focusing power of the eye).
Cataract surgery is one of the most successful operations in all of medicine. The surgeons of Columbus Ophthalmology Associates are some of the most respected leaders in ophthalmic surgery. They have helped develop surgical instruments, authored textbooks on surgery, and have participated in FDA studies on new intraocular lenses.
With small incision cataract surgery, there are virtually no restrictions because the incisions are less than 3mm in size. During the procedure, a special instrument is placed through this small incision into the eye, breaking up the cataract by using ultrasound and then removing the fragments, this technique is known as phacoemulsification. Once the cloudy lens is removed, a replacement lens(the IOL) is inserted through the same tiny incision and set into its permanent position.
Pre-existing conditions can also affect the vision along with a cataract. This may include problems such as glaucoma, diabetes, corneal disease or age-related macular degeneration and these may limit the final visual outcome. Most of these problems can be detected before surgery and in certain cases, a combination procedure may be done with another specialist to provide the best result.