What are cataracts?
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts happen when the natural lens in the eye becomes cloudy. The lens is located behind the pupil and is normally clear to help focus light. Clouding occurs slowly over time and is often due to age. Those 60-65 years old experience cataracts symptoms most often.
When should you see a doctor?
Early warning signs of cataracts include noticing glare and halos around light, difficulty with bright lights and trouble seeing while driving at night. As conditions worsen, your vision may become blurry and updating your eyeglass prescription may not improve your vision. If blurring starts to interfere with your everyday activities, a visit with your eye doctor is recommended.
An example of normal vision on the left versus vision with cataracts on the right.
Images Courtesy of National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health
How do you treat cataracts?
A onetime cataract surgery may be the best choice to improve your cloudy vision. The cataract never ‘grows back’ and the artificial lens may last a lifetime.
During this brief outpatient procedure, we will remove your cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens implant to restore clear vision. Patients are put under light sedation to keep comfortable and reduce anxiety. Cataract surgery is one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in the United States.
What choices are there in cataract surgery?
Medical health insurance will cover the costs of a standard cataract surgery using a traditional artificial lens implant.* In patients without significant astigmatism (an abnormal curvature of the front of your eye) or other medical eye diseases, the traditional lens implant can provide good vision in one focal plane. Most patients choose a lens implant targeted for the distance focal plane. This allows patients to see in the distance for daytime driving or watching TV, often without glasses. Many patients require a light pair of glasses for driving at nighttime.
After cataract surgery with a traditional lens implant, all patients should expect to need glasses for near (reading newspaper) and intermediate (computer) vision. Premium artificial lens implants, which require out of pocket fees, are available for select patients who wish to decrease their need for glasses after cataract surgery.
How long is cataract surgery healing time?
During and after surgery, there should be little discomfort. Most patients return to normal non-strenuous activities the day after surgery. Patients will wear an eye shield at bedtime for one week after surgery.
How can cataract surgery help?
After cataract surgery, patients are often surprised by how much better they can see. Patients often say they did not realize how much they were missing out.
- More details when enjoying personal hobbies
- Sharper and brighter images
- More vibrant colors
If you have questions about cataracts and the option for surgery set up a personalized consultation with Dr. Maylon Hsu at The Everett Clinic Founders Building. Dr. Hsu is board certified in Ophthalmology. To schedule an appointment call, 425-339-5435.
*Individual plans and coverage may vary.
DISCLAIMER: The contents and opinions expressed by Everett Clinic teammates and providers on “A Healthier You” blog and those providing comments are theirs alone and are not a substitute for medical advice. Consult your own provider for personal health recommendations.
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