Cataracts

Cataract Surgery in Hermitage, PA | Cataract Surgery in Greenville, PA

With two Mercer County locations, the Valley Eye Center offers cataracts surgery in Hermitage and Greenville, PA. Being diagnosed with cataracts can rattle the nerves of just about anyone. Beyond surgery, there is absolutely no way to reverse cataracts development. Those diagnosed fear the possibility of permanent blindness. Many remember how cataracts negatively impacted the lives of a parent or grandparent. Back then, cataracts surgery was quite risky and often delayed until it was absolutely critical. In fact, once upon a time, the surgery typically required a lengthy hospital stay.

Fortunately, advancements in medical procedures have made today’s cataract surgery a routine outpatient procedure that only takes a few minutes. Cataract removal is now a common procedure with a high success rate. Most patients fully recover in a matter of days and many have better vision than what they had prior to developing cataracts.

What Are Cataracts?

A cataract is a progressive and painless clouding of the eye’s natural lens. More than 22 million Americans over the age of 40 are affected by cataracts. In fact, cataracts is the most common contributor to vision loss for anyone age 40 and over. More than half of Americans over the age of 65 have cataracts. Throughout the world, more people suffer from cataracts than other eye conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?

A cataract begins relatively small and may not initially impact your vision all that much. This changes as the condition progresses. Symptoms may include:

Vision that gradually becomes cloudy, blurry, foggy, filmy, or dim. Many people liken cataract-induced vision changes to looking through a dirty car windshield.

Progressive nearsightedness. Despite losing the ability to see from a distance, there may actually be a temporary improvement to reading vision. This is commonly referred to as “second sight.”

Light sensitivity. A problematic, sometimes even painful, glare may be experienced in both daytime and nighttime hours. Driving at night becomes particularly difficult – not to mention dangerous – due to the glare from streetlights and oncoming headlights. A study conducted by the Curtin University in Australia concluded that cataract treatment lowered the risk of a car accident by 13 percent.

Visual halos or rings are often a result of the clouding of the lens diffracting any light that enters the eye.

Changes to how you see color. Bright or colorful objects are no longer seen as such. There may be an inability to distinguish between colors. Yellow-tint is often a symptom of advanced cataracts.

Double vision. Diffraction from the lens’ clouding in a cataract may lead to seeing two or more images of one singular object.

Frequent changes to eyeglass prescriptions that necessitate stronger glasses or contacts may be indicative of cataracts.

What Causes Cataracts?

Very few of us take the time to truly marvel at the workings of the human eye. Within the space of an eyeball is some miraculous engineering that combines reflected light, imaging capabilities, lighting adjustments, and information processing.

Your eye actually works similarly to a camera. Light rays enter through the lens and pass through the cornea – the “window” of the eye, the aqueous humor – a thin, watery fluid filling the space in the front of the eye between the cornea and iris – and then makes its way to the pupil and into the lens.

The cornea will bend these light rays through the pupil to sharpen and focus them onto the receiving area at the back of the eye – the retina. The retina converts light rays into electrical impulses that pass through the optic nerve at the back of the eye to the brain where an image is finally processed.

Proteins will sometimes build up in the lens. Cells from new lens form outside of the lens, compacting the older cells into the center of the lens. This is known as a cataract. Light can no longer clearly pass through the lens resulting in blurred or cloudy vision that increases over time.

Cataracts are most commonly the result of natural aging, however, some people may be born with congenital cataracts or develop cataracts as a child.

Other risk factors for cataract formation include a family history of cataracts, diabetes, obesity, smoking, alcoholism, excessive exposure to sunlight, radiation for cancer treatment, eye injury or inflammation, and the prolonged use of heavy-dose corticosteroid medications.

There are three types of cataracts.

Nuclear CataractNuclear cataract is typically the result of aging. The first symptom may be more nearsightedness or even a short-term improvement to reading vision. Over time, the lens may gradually turn a dense yellow to further cloud vision. As the cataract progresses, yellowing or browning of the lens can make it difficult to distinguish between shades of color.

Posterior Subcapsular CataractPost subcapsular cataract occurs in the back of the lens and is most common among diabetics, anyone taking high-doses of steroid medications or diuretics, or those exposed to other toxic substances, ultraviolet light, or radiation. It generally disrupts reading vision, reduces vision in bright light, and is marked by nighttime glares or halos around lights.

Cortical Cataract – A cortical cataract originates in the periphery of the lens as a whitish, wedge-shaped opacity or streak on the outer edge of the lens cortex. It will slowly progress to the center where it interferes with light as it travels through the center of the lens. Glare and a loss of contrast are the most commonly reported problems associated with cortical cataracts.

What to Expect From Cataracts Surgery

Eye drops will be prescribed and required to use in the days leading up to your surgery. You will arrive and be prepped for surgery. The areas around your eyes will be cleaned and sterilized. Eye drops or a local anesthetic will be administered to numb your eyes. Once your eye is numbed, an eyelid holder is placed between your eyelids to prevent blinking during the procedure.

A small incision allows a tiny ultrasonic probe to break the cataract into microscopic particles via high-energy sound waves. Cataract particles are suctioned away and a folded intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted through the micro-incision. This IOL is unfolded and permanently locked into position to replace the natural lens of the eye.

The micro-incision itself requires no stitches and is self-healing. You are sent home to relax. You cannot drive. Someone will have to drive you home after the surgery. Eye drops will continue to be used post-surgery and you may be instructed to keep your eye covered and wear protective sunglasses while outdoors for the first 24 hours. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled and most patients can resume normal daily activities within 24-48 hours.

Are You Ready to Discuss Cataracts?

If cataracts-induced vision problems have impaired your quality of life, vision restoration surgery is an option. While desired results cannot be guaranteed, and there are risks just like any surgical procedure, complications from cataracts surgery are very rare. The procedure is typically safe, effective, and permanent as the removed cataracts cannot grow back.

Contact the Valley Eye Center today to schedule a thorough eye exam and consultation to discuss cataract surgery. With offices in both Hermitage and Greenville, PA, the Valley Eye Center is here to help you see a little more clearly.

To schedule an appointment for cataracts treatment in Hermitage or Greenville, PA, call (724) 347-5665. You may also email us at info@valleyeyecenter.com.