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If you have cataracts, you may or may not know the symptoms. Individuals with cataracts often experience blurry or faded vision and difficulty reading or driving at night. If your cataract is small, you may not have any symptoms. Cataracts can develop as you age or as the result of an eye injury. Certain eye diseases and chronic conditions, like glaucoma, AMD and diabetes, can increase your risk of developing cataracts. Our eye doctors, serving Cupertino, Los Gatos, San Jose and Santa Cruz, can perform an eye exam to determine the best way to treat your cataracts.
If your cataracts are not fully developed or small, our eye doctors typically recommend corrective lenses. Contacts and glasses can help clarify your vision so that you can drive safely, read a book, work on the computer and perform your daily tasks. If your cataracts get worse or start impacting your daily life, the eye doctor managing your care may recommend surgery to remove the cataract.
Phacoemulsification is an outpatient cataract surgery that involves breaking-up the lens of the eye via an ultrasound probe. The small probe is about the size of a needle and is inserted into your eye via a very small incision. The ultrasound is used to break apart the lens of the eye. Then, the probe is used to remove the pieces. After your natural lens has been removed, an artificial lens will be inserted into your eye. If you need surgery in both of your eyes, it will require two separate surgeries, usually separated by several weeks. This allows your first eye to heal before the cataract in your other eye is removed.
The ophthalmologist managing your care may recommend laser assisted cataract surgery as a means to correct your vision. Laser assisted cataract surgery also called femtosecond laser surgery, involves the use of a femtosecond laser. The laser is used to make the incision in the cornea, break apart the lens and remove the pieces of the lens. After the surgery, an artificial lens is inserted into the eye. The cornea typically seals itself, which means there are no stitches needed. This completely removes the cataract to restore clear vision.
Almost every cataract surgery requires the insertion of an intraocular lens (IOL). If an IOL isn’t used or can’t be inserted, glasses or contacts must be worn for vision correction after the surgery. Advancement in IOL technology means that the lenses can be designed with your eyeglasses or contact lens prescription. This helps treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Multifocal IOLs are also available.