What exactly is a cataract?
The human lens in the eye is normally crystal clear, but when it becomes opaque, we call it a ‘cataract’. A cataract is NOT a film or growth that occurs in the eye. It is simply a cloudy lens. As the opacity worsens, it prevents light from properly focusing on the retina, the light sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. Early lens changes or opacities may not disturb vision significantly. But as the lens continues to change, the vision becomes blurred and the person notices glare, haziness, and difficult seeing street signs or reading, for example.
Who gets cataracts?
Like gray hair, cataracts are basically unavoidable. For most people, cataracts in the form of slight lens opacities start to develop in their 50s and surgery is typically performed in their 50s, 60s and 70s. For nearly all patients, the cataracts are related to age, lifetime sun exposure, and genetics. In the other patients, the cataract may be related to diabetes, steroid use (for asthma, allergies, or immune problems), or trauma. Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness but fortunately, cataracts are easily treated and cured. Everyone who lives long enough will end up having cataract surgery, and this explains why it is the number one surgery performed in the USA, with about 3 million performed last year.
You’ll need to have a thorough examination of your eyes, including dilation and an attempt at a new glasses prescription. At first, a change in your eyeglass prescription may be all that is needed to temporarily improve your vision. When you feel that your vision affects your daily activities or your lifestyle and you desire better vision, cataract surgery should be considered. Cataracts can only be removed with surgery.
Symptoms of Cataracts
How is my surgical technique better?
I will perform your surgery the same way that I would perform it on my own family members. Your eyes are your most precious sense, and I treat them as such. Many physicians, surgeons, eye doctors, nurses, and their families have chosen me as their surgeon for this reason.
- No eye patch after surgery. We use topical eye drops to anesthetize the eye, while the anesthesiologist gives a small amount of sedation in the intra-venous line to help you relax. We want you relaxed and at ease during surgery and will do whatever we can to keep you comfortable during the brief procedure. We do not routinely use the technique of an injection of medications behind the eyeball. Surgery time is brief, typically about 10 minutes for routine cataract surgery. More difficult cases can take longer as the details of surgery vary from patient to patient.
- Typically, No Stitches and No Bleeding. Since my incision is so tiny (about 1/8th of an inch) and since it is made with a diamond, it seals by itself. It is placed in such a manner that not even one drop of blood comes from the incision. Other techniques require incisions 2x to 5x larger than this, using a large steel blade or even scissors in the eye. In these older techniques, the surgeon would then place between one and ten nylon stitches to close their larger incision.
- The Best Optics. The best vision requires the best optics. This involves choosing the best intra-ocular lens to implant in your eye. The cost of the best lenses is much more than the cost of the cheaper lenses. I never cut corners, and I only implant the best lenses. In addition, I perform exacting calculations to determine which power lens to place in the eye. I take the extra time to incorporate as much of your glasses prescription as possible, into the power of the implanted lens. I can even analyze your eye and make my tiny incision in such a manner as to help to reduce your astigmatism. All of this means you’ll be far less reliant on glasses after the surgery, and many patients don’t wear glasses for distance vision, such as driving.
- Experience with Advanced Techniques. My focus is state of the art cataract and lens surgery. I perform the most advanced techniques and teach them across the US and internationally in over 40 countries in the past decade. In order to make the surgery as gentle as possible, your surgeon should use the most advanced techniques, the ones that I teach and write about in my monthly columns in the eye surgery journals. Improvements to my techniques reduce the surgical time and make the surgery very gentle on the eye.
- No Corners are Cut. I will perform your surgery the same way that I have already performed it on my own family members. These are your eyes we’re talking about, and you need to demand the best. At every step, you can rest assured that everything will be the very best and of the highest quality. For example, I use $11,000 worth of diamonds instead of a $9 steel knife because it gives the best results. Even for my charity surgeries, I only use top-of-the-line equipment and products. I’m a perfectionist, and you’ll appreciate that.
How successful is cataract/lens surgery?
In my hands, cataract and refractive lens surgery has a very high success rate with the vast majority of patients experiencing excellent results. Keep in mind that all surgery, no matter the procedure, has some element of risk. I am very vigilant about infections and I’ll have you use special antibiotic eye drops before and after your surgery. In addition, everything is fully sterilized for your surgery, and absolutely no expense is spared. Remember, that this is a real surgery on your eyes, and your success depends directly on your surgeon’s skills.
So why don’t all surgeons perform this Advanced Clear-Corneal method?
Cataract surgery is not an easy surgery to perform, and no surgeon is born knowing how to perform it well. The surgery is performed while the surgeon looks through an operating microscope that greatly magnifies the view of the eye. This also means that a very steady hand is important. Like any other highly technical task, it requires natural talent and considerable practice, at least a few hundred surgeries and hopefully a few thousand.
Surgery is not a commodity like a television set where you can get the same model at Costco, Best Buy, or Amazon and the choice is made primarily based on price. Rather, surgery is like art, the result that you get depends on the artist that you have chosen. These are your eyes, your most precious sense, and you should give plenty of thought to choosing the best surgeon for your needs.
Femtosecond Laser for Cataract Surgery…