What are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Nearly 21 million people in the U.S. suffer from its effects. One of many types of eye conditions, a cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye which can be caused by an injury or certain diseases, but most commonly by aging. Most cataract diagnoses are made when people are in their 60s and 70s.
If you’re suffering from a problem with your vision that you suspect may be caused by cataracts, the first step to regaining clear vision is a diagnosis by an experienced ophthalmologist. At Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, we offer the latest in cataracts procedures to help you see clearer and regain your view of the world.
To schedule a consultation with one of our highly-trained and experienced eye specialists, contact us today at 732-349-5622. We proudly provide services for those who live in and near Toms River, Brick, Barnegat, and Manalapan Township, New Jersey.
What Are The Symptoms of Cataracts?
The eye’s lens is made principally of protein and water and normally is completely transparent. Cataracts form when the protein molecules begin to clump together, causing tiny opacities in the eye’s lens. When this happens, some of the incoming light is prevented from reaching the retina, resulting in blurry vision. This clumping often occurs slowly over time and is painless.
People with cataracts will often notice their vision fade over a period of years. For many people who wear glasses or corrective lenses, this may seem like a normal part of their changing prescription. However, there are several symptoms that may point to the presence of cataracts.
Symptoms of cataracts include:
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Changes in perceiving color
- Clouded or foggy vision
- Double vision
- Frequent changes in prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses
- Glare or halos around lights
- Poor night vision, especially with headlights
- Steady and progressive loss of vision
- White or milky spot over the pupil of the eye
The presence of cataracts in one or both eyes can dramatically affect vision, having a profound effect on quality of life. Drivers with cataracts are more likely to have collisions, while others are unable to distinguish certain colors and may be affected by the glare of light.
How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?
A cataract exam may require a combination of tests to gauge not only if you have cataracts, but the severity of the cataracts. Further tests may be required beyond these to determine what type of cataract you have. At our office, we’ll test and diagnose your cataracts by:
- Pupil dilation: This is a common way to test for cataracts. Eye drops are used to widen your pupils to see the rear part of your eye. Complete dilation of the pupil takes about 15 minutes. A bright light and special lens will be used by the ophthalmologist to look at your eye. After the test, you must wear sunglasses and it’s recommended to have someone drive you home because dilated pupils will cause light sensitivity and blurred vision.
- Tonometry test: This test measures fluid pressure in the eye. Your ophthalmologist will be able to determine if you have a cataract through this measurement. Sometimes a tonometry test is done by directing a puff of air at the eye. Other times, numbing eye drops are used and a tiny amount of pressure is placed on the eye. A tonometry test can also determine the presence of glaucoma.
- Visual acuity test: Probably the most recognized test, this is where you’re asked to read differently sized letters or symbols on a chart. One eye is tested at a time and then together to see your acuity from various distances. This is used to diagnose a wide variety of visual issues, including cataracts.
- Topography: This is a computerized analysis of the shape of your cornea. The cornea is one of the components of the optical system of the eye. Topography is very helpful in recommending the proper type of implant to use after cataract removal to optimize visual outcomes.
How Are Cataracts Removed?
When a patient has to have a cataract removed, it is done through surgery. Cataract surgery involves removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL). At Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates we believe in using the latest technologies available for our patients.
Laser Technology for Cataract Treatment
One of the newest and most advanced technologies for laser-assisted cataracts surgeries is the Catalys® Precision Laser System by the Abbott® Corporation. The Catalys® laser is a technological marvel. It’s comprised of an advanced femtosecond laser, 3D Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) imaging, and refined software that provides optimal precision for highly-customized cataracts surgery.
Since 2014 we’ve used this technological development to perform cataracts surgeries. In that time 90 percent of our patients who need cataracts surgery chose to have it completed with the Catalys® laser. The many benefits of the Catalys® technology for cataracts surgery include:
- Safe and precise procedure
- Faster healing times for precisely cut laser incisions
- Potentially lower risk of infection
- Improved and faster visual results over traditional cataract surgery
- 10 times more precise than manual cataract surgery
- Allows for gentle removal of the clouded lens
- Astigmatism is corrected simultaneously
We use the Catalys® laser in conjunction with another new technology, called the HOLOS IntraOperative Wavefront Aberrometer. The HOLOS offers greater precision in choosing the proper implant for a patient during surgery. By using real-time, continuous refractive feedback, the HOLOS provides accurate data to make the best choice for both standard and premium IOL selection and placement. With this technology, we now have an unprecedented level of precision and accuracy in selecting and reducing IOL calculation errors.
We offer an array of premium high-technology lenses to allow patients to have a full range of vision. With these lenses, patients often report vision in which they no longer need glasses to drive, look at the computer, or read books. The premium lenses that we offer to correct cataracts include:
- Crystalens® accommodative IOL
- TECNIS® Symfony IOL with extended range vision
- TECNIS® Multifocal IOL for distance and near vision
- Trulign™ Toric IOL for managing astigmatism and presbyopia
- TECNIS® Toric IOL for managing astigmatism
Frequently Asked Questions about Cataract Surgery
How long should I wait before I get cataract surgery?
Many people live with cataracts that do not significantly impair their vision. We do not recommend surgery for these individuals. As a general rule, if your vision loss becomes significant enough to interfere with your daily activities, then we do recommend surgery.
Can cataracts return after surgery?
No, a cataract cannot redevelop once it is removed. However, what is known as a secondary cataract may develop around the IOL. Treatment for secondary cataracts consists of a simple, painless laser procedure that clears the fogged area around the pupil.
What are some potential complications I should be concerned about?
Serious complications are rare, but not impossible. Endophthalmitis (infection of the inner eye) is the most serious complication which can lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness if not treated properly. Statistics show that about one in a thousand cataract patients develop this infection.
There is also some risk of developing glaucoma after surgery. Retinal detachment is another small risk during cataracts surgery. It’s important to note that if you’re already at risk for this condition then it may occur independently from, and not as the result of cataract surgery. All of the above complications can be treated successfully if caught early.
Can cataracts be treated without surgery?
Yes, if caught early. Before the cataracts have significantly impaired your vision, your eye doctor may be able to change your lens prescription to mitigate the development of cataracts. Beyond that, there is nothing else that can be done to treat a cataract without surgically removing it.
What are the potential risks and complications of cataract surgery?
There are very few restrictions on what you can and cannot do as you recover from your surgery. After your procedure we will give you detailed post-op instructions, but the main thing to avoid is rubbing your eyes. Swimming and any contact sports are strongly discouraged, but you may resume these activities after two weeks in most cases.
Contact a New Jersey Cataracts Specialist Today
Dr. Almallah is a nationally-recognized cataract surgeon and has performed over 21,000 cataract operations. By using the latest technologies, he and his highly-trained staff work to help you achieve the vision of your youth so that you can see the world clearer. Everyone at Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates believe strongly in patient education and will always be happy to answer questions and offer suggestions on how you could best improve your eyesight.
If you believe you may have cataracts or would simply like to be tested to see if you have them, please contact us today at 732-349-5622 to schedule an appointment. We serve the Monmouth and Ocean County areas of New Jersey including Toms River, Brick, Barnegat, and Manalapan Township.