Cataract surgery, Lowry Porter Ophthalmology, Raleigh, NC - A State of Sight #18

Isaac Porter, MD explains what cataracts are and what can be expected in a consultation evaluating cataracts. Surgical options are covered, including the three primary types of lens implants available. Standard intraocular lenses (IOLs) usually correct vision for distance, multifocal IOLs can give a full range of vision from up close to far away, and toric IOLs can correct astigmatism at the time of cataract surgery.

Welcome to A State of Sight, I’m Isaac Porter from Porter Ophthalmology and this is a special episode of A State of Sight for our patients who may have cataracts. I would like to explain exactly what cataracts are and what you can expect from your visit as we investigate the possibility of cataracts.
You may know that a cataract is when the lens inside your eye starts to become cloudy. The treatment is removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens implant by surgery.
People who have cataracts may notice difficulty with their vision, particularly at night when they are driving with oncoming headlights. They may also have trouble with glare. Other people may have trouble reading, seeing the TV, poor vision in bright light situations, or a general blur over their vision that can not be corrected with glasses.
If these symptoms are caused by a cataract, we should be able to diagnose it during an eye exam. First, we determine your best vision with special tests. Then, we will check your vision with glare testing that can simulate bright lights shining in front your eyes. Glare can cause decreased vision go down in some people that have cataracts.
We also take specialized mapping of the cornea (the clear shield that covers the front of the eye), to notice if there is astigmatism or irregularity of the cornea that could be interfering with vision. Astigmatism is when the cornea is not perfectly round and this uneven shape can make vision blurry when it is not corrected.
If it turns out that you do have cataracts, fortunately, modern surgery has advanced to make this a very successful procedure. There are three primary choices for the lens implant that we put in at the time of the surgery and you may have a choice between these lenses.
First, a standard lens implant can correct a significant amount of nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia) to include power needed from glasses or contacts into the lens implant at the time of surgery. Because of this, many people can see better without their glasses than they could previously or they need a much smaller prescription in glasses than they did before.
With a standard lens, patients still need bifocals or a pair of reading glasses in order to see up close since this lens implant will help their eyes focus primarily for distance.
The second choice for lens implant is a multifocal lens. This lens can give a full range of vision from up close to far away without glasses and can give people the most freedom from glasses or contacts after the surgery.
Multifocal lenses work best in people that have healthy eyes without macular degeneration or other vision problems.
The third choice is for people who have astigmatism, as they may qualify for a toric lens implant. This lens can correct the astigmatism of your eye at the same time as the cataract surgery and reduce the need for having astigmatism correction in glasses or contacts.
If your find out that you have cataracts and they are interfering with your vision, we could plan for surgery to remove the cataract and replace it with a clear artificial lens. We operate on one eye at a time, and the second eye can have surgery as soon as two weeks after the first eye.

If you have any other questions about cataracts, please post below and we would be happy to answer them. Hope to see you soon. Until next time, good health and good sight.