Worldwide cataracts are the number one cause of blindness. Modern Cataract surgery, the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the U.S., is a painless, minutes long procedure performed in an ambulatory setting without injections or stitches.
Modern cataract surgery presents patients with an opportunity to simultaneously correct astigmtism, nearsightedness, farsightedness and presbyopia. Most recently the Femtosecond Laser Assisted Cataract Care holds the promise of even greater safety and precision, giving patients glasses free distance and near vision for the rest of their lives.
What is Cataract?
Every normally developed eye contains a crystalline lens. The lens is a clear organ made up of proteins. The crystaline lens is responsible for focusing images on the retina. It functions much like a lens in a camera that helps bring images to focus on the film.
With time, under the influence of factors such as ultraviolet light, smoking, poor nutrition, radiation and/or chemotherapy, but most commonly the aging process, the crystalline lens becomes cloudy. This occurs due to denaturation of proteins that make up the lens. This process of clouding of the lens is irreversible, and is called cataract formation. As the cataract forms, the light entering the eye is scattered by the increasingly dense and cloudy lens, resulting in poor vision.
Eye without a cataract: clear crystalline lens focuses light rays on the retina, resulting in a crisp clear image
Eye with a cataract : clouded crystalline lens scatters the light rays resulting ina blurry, washed out image
Who is at risk for developing cataracts?
Patients between the ages of 65 and 70 are at risk for developing cataracts. Up to 50% of individuals age 65 and over have visually significant cataracts that interfere with the activities of daily living. Patients who are on chronic steroid administration, have undergone radiation or chemotherapy and patients who have had trauma are all at risk for developing cataracts at an even earlier age.
Cataract symptoms include:
Decrease of visual acuity
Loss of color perception
Loss of contrast sensitivity
Sensitivity to light (photo-sensitivity)
Frequently, symptoms are manifested as difficulty seeing road signs, experiencing halos and glare from the oncoming traffic as well as difficulty reading and photosensitivity.
How is a cataract diagnosed?
The only way to propertly diagnose a cataract is with an opthalmic examination by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. These doctors use an instrument called a slit lamp to examine your eyes. The slit lamp is a microscope with specialized illumination that allows for a detailed examination of the inner and outer tissues of the eyes. If a cataract is diagnosed, Dr. Benjamin or your doctor may attempt to improve your vision with glasses and/or contact lenses. In cases when a cataract is significant and the vision is not correctable with glasses or contacts surgery may be recommended. If you do decide to proceed with cataract extraction you will need to consider some options on what kind of cataract care is best for you. You can learn about various treatment options available here.
Patient being examined with slit lamp and slit lamp view of cataract
How is a cataract treated?
Modern cataract care presents the patient with a plethora of treatment options.
FemtoSecond Laser Assisted Cataract Extraction
Presbyopia Correcting IOL's
You can learn more about various treatment options here.
As a leading Los Angeles cataract surgery provider, Dr. Benjamin offers a wide range of premium IOLs to replace existing damaged lenses, including ReSTOR IOLs, Tecnis IOLs, Toric IOLs and Crystalens in Los Angeles. Dr. Benjamin also offers revolutionary modern treatments to restore clear vision, including the laser cataract surgery procedure.