This is a fortunate time to have cataract surgery. Our field has made remarkable advancements in cataract surgery over the past few years. The physicians at Northwest Eye Clinic are experienced surgeons who will take excellent care of you and your eyes. The ability to see clearly is a precious gift. Our doctors are rewarded each week when they see our patients enjoy the restoration of their sight after cataract surgery.
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. It can be compared to a window that is frosted or yellowed. The pattern and density of the lens cloudiness varies from patient to patient. Cataract surgery is a safe, common, and painless surgical procedure. Over 2.5 million patients have cataract surgery each year. It is an outpatient procedure taking only a few hours of your day. The procedure itself usually takes less than 30 minutes. Most patients have the surgery performed under a local anesthetic. They are awake and comfortable during the procedure and experience a rapid recovery.
The cataract is removed by a process called “phacoemulsification” where a small instrument the size of a pen ultrasonically vibrates inside the eye and breaks the cataract into small pieces, which are then vacuumed out of the eye. The incision, made at the edge of the cornea, is usually less than 3-mm in size. Typically there is no bleeding and the incision seals by itself, with no sutures needed for most patients. Performing this technique with our advanced equipment requires less ultrasound energy than before and protects the cornea and other structures in the eye.
When the eye’s natural lens is removed during cataract surgery, it is replaced with a lens implant. Using the latest technology, intraocular lens implants can provide patients with some of the clearest vision they have ever had. The traditional implant is a monofocal intraocular lens with a single focal point that is usually set for distance, but can also be set for intermediate or near, depending on an individual’s preference. Patients who choose a monofocal intraocular lens implant usually still need reading glasses after their cataract surgery. The latest monofocal implants have a special “aspheric” curvature which provides excellent visual clarity and contrast sensitivity. Research has shown these new lenses help patients see more clearly than previous generations of monofocal intraocular lens implants, especially with night driving. A multifocal lens implant is now also available for patients who are good candidates for this specialty lens. You must have a healthy eye (no macular degeneration, glaucoma, or other eye disease) and minimal astigmatism. For our patients with astigmatism, a toric lens is also now an option.
The surgeons at Northwest Eye Clinic perform hundreds of cataract surgeries each year. We have established a reputation in Whatcom County as trusted, skilled, and compassionate physicians. We focus on achieving the most successful surgical results to help you see and live life to its fullest.
If you or a family member has symptoms of cataracts, please take a moment to call and schedule an appointment.
What options do I have for lenses?
- Standard – covered by your insurance. There is no guarantee that your best vision will not be achieved without a pair of updated glasses. If you’ve heard from your friends or family about their freedom from glasses, chances are high that they have chosen a lens that
- Astigmatism correction – astigmatism is part of your prescription (‘shaped like a football rather than a basketball’) that if high enough, benefits from either correction in the glasses or correction at the time of surgery. Fortunately, we have become very accurate at reducing and often eliminating astigmatism from your prescription. This allows for the best vision without glasses.
- Presbyopia (near vision) correction – there is a wide array of options to give you near vision without the use of glasses. These range from intermediate to near
- Monovision/Blended/Hybrid – dominant eye is set for distance and non-dominant is set for near. Many patients utilize this with contact lenses or LASIK when they enter their 40s. In most patients, the brain can adapt to this ‘hybrid’ or ‘blended’ vision. The brain will eventually factor out or suppress the fuzzy image from the opposite eye in both vision scenarios.
Schedule an appointment today: 360-733-4800