Cataracts tend to develop gradually and are most common in older patients. Early cataracts can be present for years, causing only minor problems with vision. However, cataracts may advance rapidly in some cases. It is difficult to predict how quickly cataracts will lead to a noticeable problem that will require cataract surgery. Therefore, regular eye exams are required to detect cataracts before they become a problem.
Symptoms of Cataracts
- Hazy or blurred vision
- Seeing colors as faded
- Light sensitivity
- Need for stronger eyeglass prescriptions
Causes of Cataracts
The most significant single factor causing cataracts is advancing age. Other factors include:
- Eye injury
- Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) radiation
- Genetic factors
- Diseases such as diabetes and iritis
More than half of Americans over the age of 65 have cataracts, and cataract surgery is the most frequently performed vision surgery in the United States. However, the decision to have cataract surgery is based on how much trouble they are causing in daily activities that require vision, such as reading and driving at night.
One method of cataract surgery is microscopic incision phacoemulsification, also known as ultrasonic cataract removal. Although lasers are used in many forms of eye surgery, cataract surgery is performed with sound waves rather than lasers. This type of low-stress surgery is one of the most advanced in the world, and it is used by the surgeons of Cascade Eye & Skin Centers.
With this technique, the lens is divided into small pieces using ultrasonic vibrations to easily remove the cataract-affected lens. After it is removed, an artificial lens (called an intraocular lens or IOL) is placed inside the eye to replace the focusing power of the natural lens.
Using the latest technology, we provide many lens options for your IOL, including:
Multifocal: a lens that helps you see distance and near
Toric: a lens that corrects astigmatism
Our dedicated ambulatory surgery center, located at our Puyallup clinic, provides a low-stress environment for our cataract surgery patients. Patients return home within a few hours of surgery and require minimal downtime, usually resuming daily activities the following day.