According to Prevent Blindness, a leading eye health and safety organization committed to fighting blindness and saving sight, more than 24 million Americans age 40 and over are affected by cataracts. Adding to that, over half of all Americans 80 and over will be diagnosed with the condition that causes clouding of the eye’s natural lens. If you are one of the many Americans currently diagnosed with cataracts, you will want to start thinking about treatment options. While cataracts is an irreversible eye condition, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take steps towards slowing its progression and preserving your vision. In this article, we will detail some of the surgical and non-surgical technologies currently available and why they may be worth considering.
WHEN SHOULD CATARACT SURGERY BE CONSIDERED?
When it comes to cataracts, some individuals will look into getting a stronger eyeglass or contact lens prescription; however, this option will only provide a short-term solution as the disease will progressively worsen. The best way to get cataracts under control is by undergoing surgery whereby the cataract is surgically extracted. Commonly referred to as the definitive treatment for preventing vision loss, cataract surgery is generally recommended when a patient meets any of the following criteria:
- Their vision has deteriorated to the point where everyday tasks become difficult.
- The cataract is likely to lead to irreversible vision loss.
- The cataract is likely to lead to glaucoma and inflammation.
- The cataract has resulted in an obstructed view of the back of the eye.
- The cataract makes it difficult to treat retinal problems caused by macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, for example.
WHAT DOES CATARACT SURGERY ENTAIL?
If you’re thinking about undergoing cataract surgery, you’re probably curious about the surgery details. There are several surgical options when it comes to cataract extraction, and the condition of your eyes will likely dictate which procedure is right for you. With that in mind, you’re encouraged to schedule a consultation with Campus Eye Group in Hamilton, NJ, a premier cataract surgery and LASIK provider, to address any questions or concerns that you may have regarding your specific surgery options. We have listed the treatment options below.
Phacoemulsification is a surgical procedure that involves making micro-incisions measuring less than 2mm in the cornea. After the surgeon makes the necessary incisions, an ultrasonic probe is inserted into the opening to help break the clouding caused by cataracts into smaller fragments, which are then suctioned out of the lens capsule.
Refractive cataract extraction
Refractive cataract surgery involves replacing the patient’s lens with a permanent multifocal or toric lens that not only corrects cataract but also corrects the patient’s overall vision in the process. In fact, refractive cataract surgery has been shown to resolve farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. However, the procedure may not be ideal for everyone. Lastly, although the procedure does significantly improve vision, some patients may continue to have trouble with distance vision and near vision.
Laser-assisted cataract care
Approved by the FDA, laser-assisted cataract surgery involves using a laser to not only make needed incisions but also to soften the cataract before it is removed by ultrasound. Following the cataract extraction, the surgeon will also use the laser to resolve any astigmatism that may have developed.
WHY ASTIGMATISM AND CATARACTS SHOULD BE CORRECTED AT THE SAME TIME
Statistically speaking, it is not uncommon for some people to develop cataracts and astigmatism at the same time. In these cases, it will be nearly impossible for patients to regain optimal distance vision following cataract surgery without also correcting their astigmatism as well. To accomplish this task, most surgeons will employ astigmatism correcting procedures along with cataract surgery to address both problems. Some of these procedures include
- Limbal Relaxing Incisions
- Toric intraocular lenses
- Eyeglasses and contact lenses
If you have been diagnosed with astigmatism, the eye doctors at Campus Eye Group in Hamilton, NJ will generally recommend LRI (limbal relaxing incisions) as the first line of treatment in correcting both astigmatism and cataracts. The procedure involves making grooved incisions on the peripheral cornea, which improves its shape and either reduces or eliminates astigmatism along with the clouding caused by cataracts.
NON-SURGICAL CATARACT TREATMENT OPTIONS IN NEW JERSEY
Depending on how far cataracts have progressed, some patient may benefit from non-surgical procedures that may help improve their eye health. According to a study published in scientificamerican.com, an online resource covering awe-inspiring advances in science and technology, a prescription eye drop called sterol may improve vision by reducing clouding and improving lens transparency. However, it should be noted that while some patients have benefited from using sterol, the eye drop has not been approved by the FDA as a non-surgical treatment for cataracts. That aside, there are lifestyle changes that you can make to help preserve your vision and slow the progression of cataracts including
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Not smoking
- Taking vitamins and supplements
- Getting regular eye exams
- Wearing sunglasses when outside
- Avoiding nutritional deficiencies
Although these non-surgical options are helpful in slowing the progression of cataracts, most patients will inevitably need to undergo some form of surgery as the condition begins to worsen.
To learn more about Cataracts and the treatment options in New Jersey please contact our team here at Campus Eye Group to schedule a consultation.