OCLI’s cataract specialists in Long Island and Manhattan are renowned surgeons, trained in innovative surgical techniques and technologies to help patients from Brooklyn, Huntington, Manhasset, and surrounding areas improve their vision. These highly skilled specialists are also trained in the use of new lens implantation and sutureless surgery.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, which can distort or block light rays from reaching the retina. They usually develop slowly and cause no pain. As they grows larger, they begin to cloud more of the eye’s lens and significantly impair vision. The only way to treat cataracts is with surgery.
Cataract surgery is considered one of the most popular and highly successful procedures for improving vision. In fact, a study by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons recently reported that 98% of patients had their vision successfully improved following surgery. Many patients report that their vision is even better than it was before.
Are you seeking a surgeon or just starting your research? Listed below is a wide range of information regarding what happens during and after surgery as well as sneak peak into the history and reasons behind the tremendous success of this procedure. Rest assured that the surgeons here at OCLI will give you the best possible care during your surgery.
Choosing an expert cataract surgeon
Once you have decided to have cataract surgery you will have a number of important decisions to make. The first item on the agenda is to select a skilled surgeon. The eye doctors at OCLI would be more than happy to be your surgeons of choice. If you are exploring your surgical options with your optometrist, feel free to have them call our practice directly to learn why we are at the forefront of cataract surgery on Long Island. We have the most up to date and modern surgery techniques available to our patients and skilled surgeons to help ensure a safe procedure. Once you have selected a surgeon it is time to understand what decisions you will have to make next.
3 Important discussions to have with your surgeon
A critical question you will need to ask is about the differences in technological options:
- What lens implant option will be the best for me? Do I need a monofocal, multifocal, or accommodating lens implant? What are the main differences between premium lens implants and traditional monofocal implants.
- What is laser cataract surgery all about and do I need this procedure?
- What are the critical things I need to know about my care after surgery? How long will it take for me to regain my vision?
The cataract surgery process: phacoemulsification
What happens during cataract surgery?
At the surgical facility, eye drops will be put into your eye to dilate the pupil. The area around your eye will be washed and cleansed. After the proper anesthesia and numbing of the eye your surgeon will create a small incision in your eye about 3mm wide. Modern day cataract surgery is also called microsurgery because the incision sizes have become so small.
Once the incision is made, the surgeon will insert a probe to break up the cloudy cataract and then proceed to remove the material. A suction tube will remove all of the loose debris and the capsular bag is prepared for the artificial IOL implant. The foldable IOL is then inserted through a tube and unfolds once in place. Intraocular lenses will have haptics and “lens arms” to hold it in place. With the cataract removed and the IOL in place, light can once again travel unimpeded to the back of the eye and focus on the retina where the image is interpreted and transmitted to the brain. The end result is clear, youthful vision.
Results can vary but most people have excellent surgical outcomes. Within the first day of surgery, it is very important not to rub or press on your eye. It is common that you will have some itching, tearing, and mild discomfort.
- It is normal to feel groggy from the local anesthesia after surgery. The effects will wear off relatively quickly, but do not be alarmed.
- Our doctors will take precautions to prevent infection so they will place anti-inflammatory drops to minimize swelling.
- As previously mentioned, avoid bumping or touching your eye after surgery.
- You may see some initial glare and haloes, but this should go away over time.
- You are not allowed to drive so be sure to have someone in place to take care of you. Make sure you get all of your prescriptions filled so you do not have to suddenly have to leave your home.
- OCLI will provide you with instructions for the prescription medications.
What are the risks of cataract surgery?
As with any surgery, cataract surgery poses risks, such as infection and bleeding. Your doctor may ask you to temporarily stop taking certain medications that increase the risk of bleeding during surgery. After surgery, you must keep your eye clean, wash your hands before touching your eye, and use the prescribed medications to help minimize the risk of infection. Serious infection can result in loss of vision.
Improvements in cataract surgery
Gone are the days of long hospital stays. Improvements in this surgical field have made this a very short procedure where most recovery can occur at home. Listed below are few of the advancements that have made things much easier on patients.
Anesthesia improvements in cataract surgery
One of the most critical advancements in cataract surgery involves anesthesia for the procedure. Years ago, patients were completely put to sleep. More recently, patients were given a shot behind the eye before surgery to numb it. But now, the vast majority of surgeries are performed under topical anesthesia, with only a few numbing drops placed on your eye before the start of the procedure. This eliminates both the risks and the discomfort of the shot.
Cataract removal improvements
The technique of cataract removal has also undergone major improvements thanks to advancement by Charles Kelman, MD. Before Dr. Kelman introduced phacoemulsification, cataracts were literally removed through half-inch incisions. Now the incisions are less than 3mm wide. There are many advantages to a smaller incision, including a faster recovery time, less need for glasses after surgery, and a smaller risk of infection after surgery.
Premium lens implant improvements
During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens of your eye is removed and replaced with a clear lens implant. As mentioned earlier, you will need to discuss what type of lens implant you want for determining your vision after surgery. Patients now have an option of monofocal lens implants for seeing at one distance only or multifocal (also called premium lens implants) that enable vision at near, far, and intermediate distances. Our doctors will help you determine what lens implant type would be best for your vision.
Cataract surgery questions
You are most likely to get a cataract after the age of 50, as they are mostly age related. There are some cases of them developing earlier in life but most people get them in their aging years of 60 or older.
Surgery itself takes about twenty minutes in the operating room. Most people are in the Center for about 90 minutes, including pre- and postoperative time.
Most people tell us that there is no pain during or after cataract surgery. They may experience a scratchy sensation (like an eyelash in the eye) and mild soreness for about 24 hours after surgery.
Stop smoking and wear sunglasses that block UV rays. Additionally, if you eat healthy you may be less likely to get cataracts early in life. It is suggested to have a diet rich in vegetables.
The cost of cataract surgery depends on many variables, such as the type of procedure you have and the intraocular lens (IOL) implanted in your eye. The area where you live also can be a factor, depending on cost-of-living standards that help set the typical price of surgery. There are variables that may determine the exact amount. Standard cataract surgery is typically a covered benefit under insurance plans.
1. American Academy of Ophthalmology – 2003 Laureate Award Charles D. Kelman
2. All About Vision – What Does Cataract Surgery Cost? Accessed October 20, 2010.