Cataracts are described as a clouding of the lens of the eye. Known as opacity, the condition causes a progressive loss of vision. Untreated cataracts are the leading cause of blindness. Cataracts reduce vision, depth perception, and peripheral vision.
It is believed that prior injury to the eye, prolonged medications, or infectious or inflammatory eye diseases or even diabetes may contribute to cataracts. Cataracts are treatable through a variety of methods to help to improve vision.
Treatment for cataracts in one eye or both eyes:
Surgery is often done for those whose vision has decreased even with the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Surgery is the only cure for cataracts. Cataract surgery can be performed on all age groups. It is also done for individuals with other underlying conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
The surgeon makes a very small incision in the eye and removes the cataract by destroying it or breaking it up with ultrasound waves. Pieces are removed. The process is known as phacoemulsification. After pieces of the cataract are removed, the surgeon replaces the cataract with an artificial or intraocular lens.
The cataract surgery is generally done under a local anesthetic. The surface of the eye is numbed with eye drops or an injection. General anesthesia is usually only offered to those who can't hold still during the surgical process. The entire procedure lasts about 30 minutes. Cataract surgery is considered a same-day surgery. Patients will need someone to drive for them.
An ophthalmologist should be licensed, trained and certified to perform cataract surgical procedures. He or she should also be trained to use of laser and ultrasound equipment. Medical licensing in the United States is by local, state, and national medical boards. A good choice would be a doctor who is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, or one who is associated with an academic medical center as they are more apt to be trained in new or advanced procedures.
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