What are Cataracts?

Jan 27, 2022

woman at restaurant

Has your vision slowly gotten blurrier and dimmer recently? Have you needed to change your glasses prescription more frequently? 

These are some of the signs of having a cataract. Developing cataracts can be a frustrating process. 

Things that you used to do with ease may now be more challenging. It can even feel like you’re no longer able to participate or do the things you love. 

Fortunately, cataract surgery is a straightforward procedure that can give you back the ability to see clearly after cataracts develop. Keep reading to learn what cataracts are and how cataract surgery can restore your eyesight!

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts develop on the natural lens of your eye when proteins in the lens break down, causing them to clump together. As the proteins stick together, they begin to block more light from reaching your retina over time.

This process occurs slowly over years or decades and can be imperceptible at first. But, eventually, cataracts will prevent light from hitting your retina, and you begin to experience vision loss.

When cataracts block enough light from reaching your retina that it disrupts your daily life, it’s time to consider cataract surgery.

What is Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is a procedure that removes and replaces your natural lens after cataracts have developed on it. After removing the natural lens, it’s replaced with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL). 

IOLs give you clear eyesight again. The procedure begins with your surgeon administering numbing eye drops, so you don’t feel any pain. 

Once the eye drops take effect, your surgeon creates a small incision in your cornea. This incision gives them access to your natural lens, which sits behind it.

After reaching the lens, they break it into smaller, more manageable pieces using a gentle ultrasound frequency. Breaking the lens into tiny pieces makes it easier to remove with gentle suction.

After removing the lens, they then replace it with the IOL. Once they’ve placed the IOL, the incision gets left to heal on its own without stitches. 

You’ll need someone to drive you home as your vision may be blurry following the procedure. You’ll need to rest for a few days and attend a follow-up appointment with your eye doctor the following day to ensure cataract surgery went well.

You should be able to go back to your daily routine within a week or two. After a few months, your eyes will have finished healing, and you’ll have clear vision. 

Selecting an IOL

IOLs come in a wide variety of styles and capabilities. The most basic monofocal IOLs can only correct vision at one distance.

You’ll still need to use glasses for the unfocused distances with a monofocal IOL. If you’d like to reduce your dependence on glasses, some IOLs can help you do so.

Premium or multifocal IOLs give you clear vision at multiple or all distances. Your eye doctor can help you select the best IOL for your lifestyle and vision goals.
Are you ready to say goodbye to your cataracts and get back to clear vision? Schedule a cataract screening at Levin Eyecare in Baltimore, MD, to see if it’s time to have yours removed!


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