Cataract Eye Surgery

When someone goes for cataract eye surgery, he often wonders what the surgeon will do and if the procedure is painful. A cataract is the clouding of the lens in the eyes. This lens lies behind the iris and the pupil. The lens works much like the one in a camera by focusing light onto the retina, which is at the back of the eyes. This allows the person to adjust focus so that he can see both far away and close up. When this element clouds, this focus becomes impossible. Without good vision, the patient loses his ability to drive, read, and do normal everyday activities. In fact, some people begin to see halos of light around the sun or auto headlights. Therefore, most people will gladly pay the cataract surgery cost to retain their vision.

The main substance in the lens is water and protein. Light passes through the protein because it is arranged in a way that keeps the substance clear. But as a person ages, the protein begins to clump together, and that clouds the eyes reducing vision. Cataracts can come in three forms. The most common is a nuclear cataract, which forms in the center of the lens and usually forms because of the changes that aging causes in the eyes. The second, cortical, forms in a different area of the lens called the cortex. Unlike the nuclear, this type forms from the outside to the center. Diabetics often develop these problems because of the problems high blood sugar causes in the circulation system. The third, subcapsular, starts at the back and goes forward. Patients who have diabetes, farsightedness, retinitis pigmentosa, or people who take high doses of steroids could have this disease. Cataract eye surgery is normally very successful in restoring lost vision. Most medical insurance companies will pay for cataract surgery cost, so those who have medical insurance do not have to put up with the loss or eyesight that aging or disease brings.

When the symptoms first appear, and the patient consults his physician, he may suggest that the patient wait awhile before opting for the procedure. At first, the patient can improve his eyesight through purchasing new glasses, getting stronger bifocals, or using better lighting when reading. But eventually, the clouding will worsen, causing the patient to lose most if his eyesight. Keep in mind that nine of ten people who have this procedure will regain all their vision. The treatment is relatively painless and usually is done in the doctor's office. He will remove the clouded lens and replace it with a clear, plastic intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL works in a way similar to the clouded one, but may be yellow to filter out harmful blue light.

Every surgical procedure carries some risk. Yet almost everyone over 75 years of age will have to have cataract eye surgery. This means that millions of these treatments have occurred and that the procedure has become easy to obtain in the United States. Over the years, because of its popularity, cataract surgery cost has dropped dramatically, becoming accessible to most people. The results enable people to go on with their lives, driving, working, and other activities that they participated in before the disease struck. Sometimes, the cloudiness never gets severe enough to require intervention, but when it does, the patient can expect to only be inconvenienced for a couple of days and to have the procedure done in a doctor's office, not in a hospital. The physician will monitor the progression of the disease until the problem begins to interfere with the person's lifestyle, and then will schedule the cataract eye surgery.

When the doctor does the procedure, he will make a small incision. Then he may use an ultrasound to break up the old lens and remove it. The back membrane (the posterior capsule) is left in place. Then the intraocular replacement is inserted. A person can have a secondary cataract, which happens when the membrane behind the lens becomes cloudy after the doctor has completed the treatment with the IOL. Then he will perform an intracapsular extraction when the membrane is removed. Some doctors will remove both the lens and the membrane to prevent this secondary condition. Patients may experience some side effects from undergoing cataract eye surgery. They may experience pain, infection, swelling, and bleeding. But most patients go through the procedure without many problems, and any problems that occur will remain minor. One serious side effect could be retinal detachment, so a patient needs to watch for severe pain, vision loss, or nausea.

Scientists theorize that ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes the changes that result in this condition. For example, people who had jobs in which they were exposed to ultraviolet rays, such as fishermen, often developed this condition earlier than other people. In the past, people who underwent the treatment had to wear coke-sized glasses to retain their vision. The patients often endured a seven-to-ten day hospital stay. Today, the procedure itself may take only an hour and people have their eyesight completely restored. The eyesight is a treasured asset. Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 11:7, "Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun." Having blurred vision or sensitivity to light does not make our lives pleasant, but being able to see clearly expands our horizons greatly. Cataract surgery cost can never be measured because of the precious treasure in our eyes.

Cataract Surgery Recovery

Cataract surgery recovery will certainly be of interest to many folks who are over fifty and face the removal of these pesky films. Cataracts can form over the eye lens causing a loss of vision that may be slow in developing but becomes more and more disturbing as time moves on. At first, there may seem to be a bit of a haze that comes over the vision area, but later begins to affect night vision, especially when driving. Sometimes colors don't appear as bright as before, but often all these issues come on gradually and nothing to really notice until later when the cataract becomes a true menace to seeing normally. Thankfully, cataract eye surgery is very routine and is performed thousands of times each year across the country. And just as thankfully, cataract surgery recovery only takes a matter of a few days or weeks.

Long before the time of the operation, a person must choose a surgeon who will do the work. Of course when dealing with eyesight, a person will want to make sure that the ophthalmologist that does the work has a track record of successful surgery on such vision issues. An ophthalmologist is an MD who has specialized in diseases of the eye and vision problems. In most cases, this type of doctor has done surgery on the eye routinely throughout the years of his or her practice. As a matter of course, check to see if your physician is also a member of a hospital staff in your area. Should a doctor not have entree into a hospital in the area that may be a red flag of concern that needs to be considered. Ask around with your friends who have had to face this type of operation and cataract surgery recovery and ascertain their appraisal of their physician.

The first diagnosis of having a cataract is certainly not necessarily the time when the surgery will be performed. In fact, there may be a number of years between the first discovery of such an eye anomaly and the time when the condition becomes bad enough to warrant removal. But as in many medical situations the time will come when surgery is the only real answer to relief from the condition. When that day arrives, one can expect about ninety minutes of time spend in the physician's office before being able to go home and face cataract surgery recovery issues. The cataract will be broken up by one of a couple of ways, depending on the physician's preference. The cloudy film may be broken up by an ultrasound instrument, or the film, which is gelatin like in makeup may be removed by tools the doctor applies to the eye. Despite the blindness that so many people have today, the Bible declares that one day all will have vision to see a great event: "Behold he cometh in the clouds and every eye shall see him and they also which pierced him and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him, even so, Amen." (Revelation 1:7)

In most cases, cataract surgery only occurs on one eye at a time, even though both eyes may be afflicted. There may only be a few weeks in between the two surgeries, but almost never together. Certainly, after the artificial lens replaces the damaged one that is removed, the eye just operated on will see more clearly than the one that is still afflicted. But there will be cataract surgery recovery rules that will have to be followed in order to minimize any risks or long term complications for the procedure. A protective eye patch will have to be worn for several days and strenuous activity and lifting will absolutely forbidden for at least the first week. Essentially, any bending or exercising that causes sudden blood flow to the head area needs to be avoided. Oh yes, that hot tub that you enjoy so much and swimming at the Y will have to be verboten for at least two weeks as part of the cataract surgery recovery procedure.

Sometime after this type of procedure, and even after the patient has followed strictly the several cataract surgery recovery rules, there are still complications such as glaucoma issues that arise as a result of the procedure. This is pressure increased inside the eye and may have to be treated by an application of eye drops, sometimes a laser procedure, medicine or perhaps more surgery and can be a dangerous condition if not treated. A follow up exam to the doctor will probably uncover such a problem if it does occur. On rare occasions, the replaced artificial lens may become misaligned on the eye and may need repositioning and sometimes, although rarely, there may occur a tear where the lens was inserted and may need immediate attention for re- stitching. In addition to the risk of glaucoma with some patients and misalignment of the replaced lens, there is also, in about three percent of patients who have faced cataract surgery recovery, the possibility of retinal detachment. In some cases of patients who have diabetes, an infection called endophthalmitis can occur causing widespread inflammation of the eye which can lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness. This is a good reason to disclose every medicine that one is taking and all condition that a patient may have with the eye surgeon before proceeding with this surgery that has helped millions to see clearly again.





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