Cataracts commonly affect men and women over the age of 65. Left untreated, cataracts will lead to blindness, but cataract surgery is a successful, safe, and nearly painless procedure. In most cases, cataract surgery will be paid for, in whole or in part, by health insurance.
This page contains some background information about cataract surgery, but evaluation of your cataracts requires a medical evaluation by an ophthalmologist. To schedule an appointment at our Beverly Hills or Rancho Cucamonga location, please call 888-514-2020 or email Armin Vishteh, MD today.
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts are any opacities or clouding that appear in the eye’s crystalline lens. This is not the same structure that is treated in LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures—called the cornea—this lens is located behind the colored part of the eye, called the iris, and is responsible for your eye’s ability to focus on objects at different distances.
Cataracts form naturally with age, but there are many factors that may influence the age at which you experience cataracts:
- Medical conditions
- Other causes
If you know the age at which your parents or grandparents experienced cataracts, you should look for them about that age. Otherwise, you can watch for symptoms of cataracts.
Cataracts influence your ability to see objects clearly. Before your vision is significantly impacted, you may notice some signs cataracts are beginning to form, such as:
- Night vision problems (glare, halos, and starbursts around lights)
- Diminished color sensitivity
- Diminished contrast sensitivity
These symptoms can warn you about cataracts long before you require surgery.
When to Have Cataract Surgery
In the past, doctors would advise you to wait until cataracts were “ripe” before getting cataract surgery. With modern techniques, we can perform cataract surgery at any time you notice difficulty performing your regular activities such as driving, reading, or watching TV.
However, if you want insurance to cover the cost of the procedure, they will most often require that you have significant vision impairment before covering the procedure. Typically, this means your best corrected vision with glasses or contacts must drop to worse than 20/40. Once this occurs, insurance will cover the cost of cataract surgery (but not the cost of advanced replacement lenses).
Cataract Surgery Options
Patients now have more treatment choices for their surgery. Some of the newer advancements in cataract surgery can help a patient with their overall sight issues such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.
Cataract patients now have the opportunity to correct their eyes and their refractive error improving their vision even further. These newer treatment options may provide a greater quality of vision and a better quality of life.
Basic Cataract surgery will improve vision for patients with visually significant cataracts. With this procedure, patients can expect improved vision, but in certain cases the patient will still require prescription eyeglasses for the best distance and near vision. Mono-vision surgery where one eye is corrected for distance and the other for near or intermediate distance may help to reduce the need for reading glasses.
For patients with significant astigmatism, Toric intraocular lenses will provide the highest quality distance vision. In our practice Toric lens implantation is backed up by our LASIK / PRK enhancement package. With Toric lenses, glasses for reading will most likely still be required.
For patients seeking independence from both distance and reading glasses, Multifocal / Trifocal and Extended depth of focus lenses are recommended.
Multifocal lens implants correct a patient’s distance vision prescription, and also the loss of reading vision (presbyopia). Many patients who choose a multifocal intraocular can be glasses free or may only need reading glasses occasionally for reading small print after cataract surgery. Multifocal implants will also correct a patient’s astigmatism. In our practice Multifocal lens implantation is backed up by our LASIK/PRK enhancement package.
For more information, please see Cataract Surgery Questions.
If you suspect you may have cataracts and want to learn more about cataract surgery, please contact Armin Vishteh, MD today for a free consultation at our offices in: Rancho Cucamonga, Burbank, Santa Monica.