Cataracts: Facts and Fiction
Normal sunlight exposure will not cause a cataract to develop.
Cataracts progress differently in each person. A 45-year-old may have a significant cataract while a 70-year-old may have the beginning of a cataract but still have adequate, functional vision.
Cataracts can be removed as soon as they interfere with visual function.
Cataracts can be treated by special diet, vitamins, eye drops or lasers.
Cataracts are tumors. They can spread and are contagious.
Cataracts need to be "ripe" before they are removed.
Cataracts are caused by eye strain. If you sit too close to your television or read too much, you will develop cataracts.
What is the treatment for cataracts?
The only safe and successful treatment for cataracts is surgical removal of the clouded lens. Once the focusing lens clouds, it must be removed and replaced in order for clear vision to be restored.
When should I have a cataract removed?
The time to consider cataract surgery is when you are no longer satisfied with the quality of your vision. Although the mere presence of a cataract is not necessarily an indication for surgery, a cataract may be removed any time your ability to function normally is impaired by poor vision. Therefore, if a cataract has caused enough of a loss of sight to interfere with work, hobbies, or lifestyle, it is probably time to consider removal. Dr. Marshburn will discuss these issues with his patients and together they will decide when cataract surgery is desirable.
Are lasers used to remove cataracts?
No, a laser beam cannot remove a cataract. It must be surgically removed. However, a laser can be used following successful cataract surgery to correct a “secondary” cataract. This condition occurs when the capsule which surrounds the intraocular lens implant becomes milky or opaque. Dr. Marshburn then uses a laser beam to make an opening in the capsule. This simple procedure takes approximately two minutes to perform.
How is a cataract removed?
Dr. Marshburn, who has performed over 10,000 cataract procedures, uses the most advanced surgical technique available to achieve your desire as a patient and his goal as a surgeon: the quick, successful and safe restoration of clear vision with no limitations of daily activities.
Dr. Marshburn makes a small (2.5 to 3 mm) incision through which he removes the cataract (the old, clouded lens) and then permanently replaces it with a clear intraocular lens that restores focusing to the eye.
What kinds of lens will be used to replace the cataract?
The technology in lens implant replacement designs over the past decade is unsurpassed in both safety and options. These new generation of lenses offer correction for distance, intermediate, and near vision. Dr. Marshburn will discuss with you which lens implant would best suit your particular vision needs and condition. Lens implants are now available to restore focusing, correct astigmatism, and allow a “multifocal" lens option. Dr. Marshburn uses these new technology implants in fifty percent of his patients.
Here is a brief description of these state-of-the-art lenses. Dr. Marshburn will discuss with you if you are a candidate for one of these lenses:
- AcrySof Toric: This lens implant can correct for most levels of astigmatism. Patients for whom this lens is indicated have a 97% likelihood of not needing glasses for distance correction.
- Crystalens: This is a lens that focuses inside the eye, much like the natural lens, and can improve the range of focus and reduce dependence on glasses over a standard (non-focusing) lens. Most patients will require low-power reading glasses for some tasks.
- AcrySof ReSTOR: This lens has the highest level of glasses independence because it reliably allows for both near and distant vision. Eighty percent of patients with this lens in both eyes do not wear glasses for any purpose.
What can I expect from the surgical experience?
Once you have decided to have your cataract removed, our office will schedule an appointment for the procedure at your convenience. Dr. Marshburn performs cataract surgery at a state-of-the-art outpatient facility near his office.
On the day of the procedure, anesthetic eye drops will be used prior to surgery to eliminate any discomfort. The procedure itself lasts approximately ten minutes, and you will return home the same day, free to engage in normal activities the next day.
You will visit our office the day following surgery so Dr. Marshburn can examine your eye and check your vision.
After cataract surgery, what can I expect?
Following their cataract removal, Dr. Marshburn’s patients experience clearer vision, more vivid colors and renewed enjoyment of everyday activities such as reading, driving, working and hobbies.
Cataract surgery is a highly successful procedure. Of the 2 million individuals who undergo cataract surgery every year in the United States, 95% experience a markedly significant improvement in vision.
Will cataract surgery reduce my dependence on glasses or corrective lenses?
New advances in intraocular lens technology have allowed patients who were previously very dependent on glasses to reduce or, in some cases even eliminate, the need for glasses.