Cataracts are characterized as the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Cataracts affect about half of all Americans aged 65 and older. In a typical eye, light passes through the transparent lens to the retina. The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image. If the lens is cloudy from a cataract, the image striking the retina will be blurry and therefore the vision will be blurry. If left untreated, vision will become progressively worse.
Am I at Risk?
Causes of cataracts include steroid medication, trauma, diabetes, UV exposure, and aging. Studies predict that cataracts will affect most people if they live long enough. Symptoms of early cataracts may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting conditions while reading, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these options do not help, surgically removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens is the only effective treatment.
A patient developing cataracts may notice that they are experiencing:
• Blurred or foggy vision
• Updated eyeglasses that don’t seem to be working well
• Poor night-time vision
• Using more light to see up close activities well
• Washed out or faded colors
• Sensitivity and glare from bright lights like headlights from oncoming traffic
What is cataract surgery like?
If cataract surgery is determined to be beneficial for you, our doctors will assist you in making a decision that leads to the best possible outcome for your vision. During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens that has developed will be removed and replaced with a new and permanent lens called an Intraocular Lens or IOL. Cataract surgery is generally a well-tolerated procedure that is associated with little to no discomfort.
Cataract removal with an IOL implant is an outpatient procedure (Muskegon Surgery Center). Patients should expect to be at the surgery center for 3 hours or less, although the procedure usually takes less than 10 minutes. Patients are expected to have a driver to take them home from the procedure due to the use of light anesthesia. Surgery is scheduled one eye at a time and in most cases one week apart. This allows us to understand how your body heals and adapts to the newly implanted lens.
Recovery is quite simple for most patients. Restrictions include not lifting weight over 20 lbs. and limiting bending. These restrictions prevent any disruption in the healing process. Patients will use antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops for approximately 3-4 weeks.
If you think you may be developing cataracts and are looking for treatment options, be sure to call to schedule an appointment for a complete evaluation.
Additional Patient Forms
Find answers to common questions that arise before, during, and after cataract surgery here:
There are a variety of choices that can be made in regards to the “IOL” implant for your cataract surgery. Read this guide to become more informed of your options, so that your West Michigan Eye & Laser doctor can help determine the best choice for you.
Intraocular Lens FAQ
If you are considering the multifocal lens option, please fill out the document below so that one of our doctors can review your preferences at your initial evaluation.
Multifocal IOL Lifestyle Questionnaire