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Cataract Surgery

Cataract Surgery From A Trusted Cataract Surgeon

The DelMar Surgical and Cosmetic Treatment Center offers cataract surgery for patients located in Wilmington and Newark, Delaware; Elkton and North East, Maryland and surrounding areas in Delaware, Maryland and southeast Pennsylvania. With highly trained and caring doctors, you can rest assured that you’ll get outstanding treatment.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye that can occur naturally over time. In fact, cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40. There are more cases of cataracts worldwide than there are of glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, according to Prevent Blindness America. More than half of all Americans have cataracts by the time they’re 80 years old.

When the cloudiness becomes acute, you can address it with surgery. Cataracts develop through changes in the tissue that make up your eyes’ lens. Cataracts can also be caused by other eye conditions, hereditary influences or as a side effect of other medical conditions like diabetes.

How can I prevent cataracts from developing?

While no studies have proven that cataracts can be prevented, some doctors believe that doing these things will minimize your likelihood of developing cataracts:

  • Wearing sunglass
  • Scheduling regular eye exams
  • Quitting smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Reducing your alcohol consumption

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

According to Prevent Blindness, the following are indications that you may have a cataract:

  • Blurred vision, double vision, ghost images or a sense that you have a film over your eyes.
  • Light seems especially dim or you are “dazzled” by strong light.
  • Seeing “halos” around lights.
  • You’ve changed eyeglass prescriptions recently and your vision does not seem to have improved.
  • You can see the cataract - it looks like a milky or yellowish spot in your pupil.

When Should I consult a doctor?

If you experience any change in vision or notice any of these symptoms, you should schedule a visit with your doctor immediately.

What are the types of cataracts?

According to Prevent Blindness, there are four types of cataracts:

  • Age-related - 95% of cataracts are this type, usually formed after age 40.
  • Congenital - These are present at birth, perhaps caused by an infection or inherited.
  • Traumatic - The lens has been damaged by a blow, puncture, heat or chemicals.
  • Secondary - Caused by some medicines, eye infection or diseases like diabetes.

How will my doctor check for cataracts?

Your eye doctor will check for cataracts by:

  •  Asking about your general medical history
  • Asking about specific symptoms you’re experiencing
  • Testing your vision
  • Testing your eye movement
  • Doing a test for glaucoma by measuring your eye’s internal pressure
  • Doing a close examination of the front of your eyes
  • Dilating your pupils to check the retinas, the optic nerve and the macula
  • Testing to see how glare affects your vision

How are cataracts treated?

If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, the only way to actually remove the cataracts is through surgery. However, some people experience less severe cataracts symptoms than others. So, if your symptoms are mild and don’t both you as much, you don’t need to have them removed. If your cataracts are preventing you from enjoying daily life and doing the things that you like to do, you should consider surgery to remove them.

What is cataract surgery?

Using the most up to date methods and instrumentation, cataract surgery is typically performed using a small incision to insert a replacement lens into your eye. This is called the phacoemulsification technique and it uses the smallest possible incision and removes damage lens material using an ultrasonic needle.

How is cataract surgery performed?

There is a common misconception that cataract surgery is done using a laser. This is not the case and has never been the case. The use of laser energy produces too much heat to be adapted for this purpose and would cause damage to the delicate tissues inside the eye.

Following proper dilation of the pupil, and preparation of the surgical area using betadine or other cleansers, a topical anesthetic is administered to the surface of the eye. An incision of 2.5 to 3 millimeters in length is then created at the junction of the cornea (the clear domed structure on the front of the eye) and the sclera (the white part of the eye).

Another dose of anesthetic is then administered inside the eye through this incision. The front part of the lens envelope, known as the lens capsule, is carefully opened so that the lens material can be removed. This is accomplished using a needle-like ultrasonic device, which pulverizes the hardened and yellowed lens proteins. The pulverized material is simultaneously vacuumed from the eye.

Once all of the cataract material has been removed, and assuming that the lens capsule which was opened at the beginning of the surgery remains strong enough to support the lens implant, a folded intraocular lens specifically chosen by the surgeon to suit your individual needs is then inserted through the original incision. The new lens is then maneuvered into the lens capsule and then centered. The lens will remain inside your eye in this location without moving. Intraocular lenses cannot be felt or sensed in any way by the patient.

In most cases, once the lens is centered within the lens capsule, the instruments are removed, and the surgery is complete. Under most normal circumstances, stitches (or sutures) are not required to keep the incision sealed. If stitches are necessary, they will generally be removed within the first week following surgery.

Could my cataract come back after surgery?

Cataract surgery involves replacing the lens in your eye. And once a new lens is implanted, it is permanent and you won’t ever need cataract surgery again.

Is cataract surgery possible for patients with diabetes or macular degeneration?

The answer is yes. It’s common to perform cataract surgery on these patients and results tend to be good.

Is cataract surgery possible after a patient has had LASIK surgery?

Yes, but it may involve the need to take special considerations with the type of lens implant that’s being used.

Will I remain awake during the surgery?

Typically you are awake during cataract surgery. If this makes you feel anxious, you can request medication to make you feel more relaxed. The surgery itself takes just ten to fifteen minutes, and the entire process starting with your arrival at the hospital through going home usually takes about half a day.

What should I expect during recovery from cataract surgery?

Recovery from cataract surgery is generally very quick. Most patients achieving noticeably better vision within the first 24 hours of the procedure. Patients are generally asked to use three different eye medications, administered as drops, several times daily for the first few weeks after surgery. It’s important that during the first seven postoperative days, patients refrain from strenuous activity such as lifting weights for exercise or lifting other heavy objects. Patients should also refrain from eye rubbing during the first few weeks following surgery.

Will I need new glasses after cataract surgery?

After cataract surgery, it’s common that your old glasses will overcorrect for the new lens which have been implanted in your eye(s). So it’s likely that you will need new glasses. Make sure to consult a surgeon about this before your procedure.

How long will my vision be blurred after cataract surgery?

Blurriness immediately after surgery is to be expected.  However, generally, it will improve within 24-48 hours. In some cases, it can take one to two weeks for vision to clarify as the eye(s) adapts to the new lens.

If I need cataract surgery on both eyes, how soon after the first, can I do the second?

It is recommended that you wait at least one week. This helps ensure precise lens measurement for the second eye depending on how the first eye recovers.

Are there any complications from cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is a common procedure and has an excellent record of success. The most common issue after surgery can be problems with glare or a feeling of mild irritation in the eye as it heals. But these issues generally improve with time. According to Prevent Blindness, less than 5% of patients experience complications from cataract surgery.

What activities should I avoid after cataract surgery?

  • Don’t drive on the first day after surgery
  • Don’t do any strenuous lifting or activity for a few weeks after surgery to avoid putting pressure on your eye
  • Rubbing your eye
  • Swimming or using a hot tub for at least two weeks

How will cataract surgery impact my sleep?

Keep in mind that you have a small wound that needs time to heal without pressure or disruption. To avoid complications, we recommend that you wear a protective eye covering and that you avoid sleeping on the side that has been operated on.

If you’re considering cataract surgery, please call our practice to schedule your personalized comprehensive evaluation. Dr. Lavenburg is a board-certified ophthalmologist with has decades of experience in performing cataract surgery in Delaware and Maryland. Please view our Facebook page for more information about the Lavenburg Medical Group and the DelMar Surgical and Cosmetic Treatment Center.