A cataract is a condition of the human lens inside the eye that causes blurred vision. While cataracts occur as a natural part of the aging process, other conditions such as diabetes, vitamin deficiency, trauma, and inflammatory diseases may accelerate cataract growth.
Cataract surgery is a successful method of enhancing vision, and you may reduce or eliminate your need for glasses after surgery. That’s especially true if you choose the best cataract surgery in Austin.
On this page, we explore what a cataract is, its symptoms, the best treatments, and more. Read on to learn and make an informed decision.
What Is a Cataract?
Similar to a camera, the eye focuses images through a lens inside the eye. The lens is clear and flexible when we’re born, allowing crystal vision with a full range of focus. However, the lens becomes inflexible and cloudy as we age, causing our vision to blur and increasing our dependence on glasses.
A cloudy lens is called a cataract, and because of the cataract, images may become blurry with age. Cataracts can make it more challenging to drive, read, watch TV, perform daily activities, and blur vision in general. Nevertheless, cataract formation is an unavoidable part of the aging process.
What Are the Symptoms of a Cataract?
If you’re 50 or older, you are developing cataracts as a natural part of the aging process. Although rare, some individuals may develop cataracts as children and young adults.
Common symptoms of cataracts are described below:
- Blurry vision
- Inability to see the TV clearly
- Difficulty seeing while driving at night
- Difficulty discerning fine details or reading
- Foggy, cloudy, fuzzy, filmy vision
- Glare around lights at night
- Difficulty seeing colors clearly
- Loss of vision in low-contrast situations
- Light sensitivity
- Double vision
An eye examination by an ophthalmologist is necessary to determine if you have a cataract and whether it is visually significant. That said, you may not need surgery if the cataract is mild – often, an updated pair of glasses will help improve your vision. But if your vision remains cloudy despite wearing prescribed glasses, you should consider cataract surgery.
If you discover that you have a cataract and need surgery, you can either leave the cataract alone and wait until your vision worsens or have cataract surgery to optimize your vision.
Cataracts aren’t life-threatening, meaning you can wait as long as you’re satisfied with your vision. However, your vision will remain somewhat blurred, and it will worsen as time passes if you don’t opt for cataract surgery. And once you become too frustrated with your blurred vision, you can have cataract surgery.
If you choose to have cataract surgery to improve your vision, you’ll have a choice of what type of cataract surgery you want to receive. Your decision will determine how well you can see without glasses after the surgery or how much you’ll have to depend on glasses.
When Should You Have Cataract Surgery?
You should have cataract surgery when your vision is so blurry that it hinders your ability to perform your daily activities. Often, your ophthalmologist will prescribe glasses to improve your vision before suggesting cataract surgery. The time of cataract surgery depends solely on your choice to proceed with surgery, as the cataract doesn’t have to be removed since it’s not life-threatening.
As we mentioned, if you’re content with your blurred vision, you can live with your cataract and wait until it progresses and further impairs your vision.
Patients who opt for cataract surgery do so because either they can’t tolerate the blur cataract creates or desire to enhance overall vision and reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses. Ultimately, the ability to see “younger” is often a powerful incentive to choose cataract surgery with an intraocular lens implant (IOL).
What Is the Best Cataract Surgery in Austin, Texas?
Lens replacement with intraocular lens implants is the best treatment for cataracts. Cataract surgery in Austin has evolved over the last decade, and treatment has become safer and more effective than before.
Traditional cataract surgery improves vision at only one point of focus, usually at a distance. But Full Focus® Cataract Surgery with Texan Eye can correct vision for near, intermediate, and distance ranges. By using high-performance accommodating intraocular lenses, our specialists can offer enhanced visual performance, with results surpassing those from traditional cataract surgery.
What You Need to Know About Cataract Surgery in Austin, Texas
Cataract surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure. On the day of surgery, you’ll arrive 1-2 hours before the surgery begins. The nurse will check your blood pressure, distribute eye drops, and may start an IV. You’ll get Valium or some other relaxing medicine to remain relaxed, but not unconscious.
Then, you’ll be brought to the operating suite where a surgeon will remove the cataract and implant the new lens. During surgery, you may experience swirling lights of patterns and colors. And this life-changing procedure is painless. Some people even report enjoying the light show.
Some patients choose to have advanced technology used in their surgery. This is called refractive cataract surgery. Once the cataract is removed, intraoperative technology analyzes the eye. That allows the surgeon to choose the power of the lens that has to be implanted so the patient can see their best without wearing glasses after the surgery.
The incisions made during surgery are tiny and self-sealing.
What Are Intraocular Lens Implants?
Intraocular lenses are clear, flexible lenses that serve as a replacement for natural lenses that have been blurred by cataracts. Although their primary function is to correct vision affected by cataracts, they can also fix a refractive error that may have been present before the surgery.
Recovery From Cataract Surgery
Recovery from cataract surgery is quick – patients typically achieve significantly better vision within the first day after the procedure. Mild inflammation or corneal swelling is normal, and it may result in a hazy vision for the first couple of days following the surgery. The vision may fluctuate slightly for the first few weeks as the eye heals, after which it stabilizes.
Patients typically use medicated eye drops four times per day for the first week to prevent infections and inflammation and then slowly reduce them over the next few weeks. Moreover, they should refrain from straining, heavy lifting, swimming, and eye rubbing for 14 days following the surgery.
Risks of Cataract Surgery
Although cataract surgery is one of the safest and most successful surgeries, it comes with risks like any other surgery. The most common risks are swelling and inflammation. But these typically clear up within the first few days of recovery and with the use of medicated eye drops.
These issues rarely persist, but when they do, they can make vision cloudy for an extended period and require other medications. In severe cases, corneal edema may require additional surgery to improve the vision.
Other rare issues that may occur due to the surgery include:
Retinal detachment occurs in less than 0.2% of patients following surgery. Very nearsighted people and those who had complex cataract surgery are at higher risk of developing this condition. Your surgeon will review your potential risk of retinal detachment before the surgery.
Symptoms of retinal detachment may include seeing flashing lights, a curtain blocking the vision, or a shower of floaters. If any of these symptoms occur, contact your surgeon as soon as possible.
Retinal swelling is another rare side effect of cataract surgery that can postpone vision improvement. It’s more common in patients who have an inflammatory eye disease, diabetes, or a history of retinal issues. If retinal swelling happens, extended use of eye drops or additional procedures may be necessary to help your eyes recover.
Lens dislocation is a very uncommon complication of cataract surgery, and it involves the lens implant being moved from its intended place.
It can happen in eyes with weak zonules (the fibers that hold the lens capsule). Weak zonules may be caused by a history of eye trauma, genetic disposition, or complex cataract surgery. If significant, it can reduce the vision and require additional surgery.
Choose the Best Cataract Surgery in Austin
If you’re over 50 and notice any of the symptoms described above, it may be time to pay a visit to a surgeon. But don’t settle for just any because choosing an inexperienced surgeon brings higher risks. To be on the safe side, do your research and choose the best cataract surgeon in Austin, Texas.
Texan Eye has 25 optometrists and ophthalmologists in Central Austin. Some of our eye surgeons are recognized internationally as leaders in the field of cataract and refractive surgery, and all of our physicians have received advanced training. So, if you’re considering cataract surgery in Austin, why not visit the eye surgeons that other doctors choose for their vision care?
Is Cataract Surgery Safe?
More than 2 million people have cataract surgery every year, and they are performed without complication in over 95% of cases. That makes cataract surgery one of the safest and most successful medical procedures in the U.S.
Will I See What Is Happening During the Surgery?
During the surgery, you won’t see anything in the room. However, you may see swirling lights of various colors and patterns.
Does Cataract Surgery Hurt?
No. The surgery is painless thanks to the eye drops and medication.
How Long Will It Take to Recover?
Your vision will rapidly improve within the first 24 hours, then slowly over the next couple of weeks. During that time, refrain from heavy lifting, swimming, eye rubbing, and straining.