Many people are left wondering “What are cataracts?” when they first learn about them. A cataract is simply the natural lens becoming cloudy, making it more difficult for the light rays to pass through the lens onto the retinal nerves in the back of the eye
Cataracts are not a disease nor a growth, but rather are a part of the normal aging process. In fact, everyone has a cataract in both eyes by age 60. A cataract means that the natural lens located inside the middle of the eye has become cloudy as compared to the crystal clear state in which it had been up to that point. At about age 50-60 the lens begins to take on a yellowish discoloration, and this gradually progresses over the years to an orange color and then a darker amber color. Sometimes, cataracts have a white color.
Early-on cataracts do not affect the vision at all, but eventually a decrease in vision is noted either as a general blur or as problems with glare from lights noticed especially while driving at night. When the cataract has advanced enough that the vision is significantly affected, it is time for it to be surgically removed.
During cataract surgery, your cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens. This lens is called an intraocular lens (IOL). Dr. Lipstock and Dr. Stevens were the first Richmond, Virginia cataract surgeons to routinely perform advanced minimally invasive cataract surgery with topical anesthesia (a gentle numbing drop anesthetic). The surgical technique to remove the cloudy lens is called phacoemulsification. After being given a sedative and the eye is numbed, a microscopic incision is made into the eye. Then an ultrasonic tipped instrument is used to break the cloudy lens into tiny particles that are then aspirated from the eye. The support system of the lens remains, and this looks like a bag of cellophane. This is called the capsular bag. The intraocular lens is placed into a tiny cartridge and passed through the microscopic incision and into the capsular bag whereupon it unfolds into the exact position where the natural lens had been located. No stitches are needed. The procedure usually takes only about 10 minutes. Cataract surgery is the most common procedure in the world and is one of the safest and most successful procedures performed today.
Once you have cataract surgery how long will it take to recover? Each person heals differently, but some people have clear vision within a few hours of cataract surgery. It may take as long as a two weeks after surgery to see everything in sharpest focus. Common symptoms after surgery include scratchy or dry eyes and temporary blurry vision, but you should experience complete healing of the eye within a month. Learn more about how Dr. Lipstock helps patients recover quickly.
Cataract surgery can also offer the opportunity to correct other vision problems you may be experiencing, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (irregularly shaped lens), or presbyopia (diminishing ability to focus with age). This is called Refractive Cataract Surgery. Lipstock LASIK and Cataract Center has been at the forefront of refractive Cataract Surgery nationally for many years.
If you are suffering from cataracts in the Richmond, Virginia area, feel free to reach out to cataract doctors in Richmond, VA, Dr. Lipstock and Dr. Stevens, for consultation on cataract surgery.