What are Cataracts?
The lens you were born with is usually crystal clear; the natural aging process kicks in with each passing year and causes that lens to become hardened and discolored (yellowish or yellow-brown in color), even opaque. This change interferes with the light entering the eye, which is necessary for seeing a clear image. The cataract diffuses the image, scattering the light rays and preventing the light from focusing on the retina, so the image we see is not as good as it used to be. This is usually a gradual progression; usually different for each person, and many people may not even notice a decrease in their vision.
Dr. Croley’s office is conveniently located in Ocala, FL and during your eye exam, he will let you know if cataracts are an issue for you and if you need to undergo cataract surgery.
Are cataracts hereditary?
No. Cataracts develop due to natural aging processes in the eyes, especially the accumulation of proteins. By age 65, it is estimated that over 90 percent of Americans have a developing cataract or have already had cataract surgery.
What causes cataracts?
If you are between the ages of 52 and 64 years old, you have a 50% chance of developing cataracts. A cataract is the result of the aging of the natural clear lens in your eye.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
If you have the following symptoms, you may have cataracts. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Croley at Central Florida Eye Institute to see if you should consifer cataract surgery.
• Cloudy, fuzzy, foggy, or filmy vision
• Changes in the way you see colors (ie. whites may look yellow)
• Problems driving at night because headlights seem too bright
• Frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription
• Feeling that your glasses are always dirty
• Double vision
• Better near vision for awhile
These symptoms can also be signs of other eye problems.
How is Cataract Surgery Performed?
A change in your glasses may temporarily improve vision. However, the only way to treat a cataract when glasses are no longer improving your vision is to surgically remove the cataract. Dr. Croley performs a minimally invasive, small-incision, no-stitch cataract surgery called phacoemulsification (phaco) surgery. He makes a tiny incision in the eye to make room for a small ultrasonic probe. This probe is inserted and it emits ultrasound energy that breaks up, or emulsifies, the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The pieces are then suctioned out through the probe. There are no injections or stitches.
Once the cloudy lens has been removed the artificial IOL is implanted in the eye. Advanced foldable IOLs are inserted through the same small incision through which the original lens was removed. This significantly reduces recovery times while improving safety and reducing the risk of bleeding, scarring, irritation, and distortion. The entire procedure with Dr. Croley lasts just 10-15 minutes. Dr. Croley performs cataract surgery at his onsite Accredited Ambulatory Surgical Center in Ocala, FL.
See What Our Patients Are Saying:
“I would highly recommend Central Florida Eye Institute. I had my cataracts removed (It’s a whole new world) and everybody was super nice. Dr Croley was knowledgeable and explained things to make you feel comfortable.”
Will I need to have surgery on both eyes?
Most patients will have cataracts removed from both eyes. They may not develop at the same rate, but the conditions that cause cataracts will exist in both eyes. These are handled in two separate procedures to allow the first eye to heal before having the second procedure.
Will I need eyeglasses after cataract surgery?
Up until just a few years ago, it was pretty standard for a patient to require reading glasses for up-close vision after cataract surgery. The IOLs used were generally for either up-close or distance vision, with most people choosing distance. Recent advances in technology have changed your options. Today there are multifocal and accommodating IOL options that can eliminate the need for glasses in just about all situations. Dr. Croley will discuss your options during your consultation.
Will cataract surgery improve my night vision?
Cataract-clouded lenses can really impact night vision, particularly driving and dealing with low light situations. This surgery will dramatically improve your night vision, along with all other areas of your vision.
Can I have cataract surgery if I have had LASIK?
Laser vision correction such as LASIK and PRK correct the shape of the cornea to eliminate refractive errors. They do not affect the lenses of the eyes, which are replaced in cataract surgery. You can have LASIK when you are younger and cataract surgery when they develop at an older age.
How Do I Decide if I Should Have Cataract Surgery?
Just because you have a cataract does not necessarily mean it must be removed immediately through cataract surgery. However, on occasion cataract surgery will need to be performed immediately. For example, Dr. Croley may need to see or treat an eye problem that is behind the cataract. Dr. Croley doesn’t make the decision for you but will present you with the facts and help you determine the best course of action. Cataract surgery can almost always be put off until your vision begins to interfere with your lifestyle. Here are some things to consider:
• I need to drive, but there is too much glare from the sun or lights.
• I do not see well enough to do the things I need to do.
• I’m afraid I will bump into something or fall.
• My glasses do not help me see well enough.
• My glasses seem dirty all the time.
• I don’t see well enough to do the things I like to do (read, watch TV, sew, hike, play cards, and go out).
• Because of my cataracts, I am not as independent as I would like to be.
What happens if I don’t treat my cataracts?
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world. The clouding of your lenses in your eyes won’t abate, and cataracts never reverse. Should you choose to leave your cataracts untreated, the future is one of declining vision and a deteriorating quality of life. This is an easy procedure that is very successful. It is covered by insurance and Medicare. There isn’t any reason not to treat your cataracts.
What Are The Risks Of Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is a very safe procedure. Complications are rare, and when something does occur it can usually be corrected. Your risk of complication is greater if you have another eye disease such as macular degeneration or glaucoma.
These are some risks associated with cataract surgery:
- Drooping eyelid
- Dislocation of the IOL
- Retinal detachment
- Secondary cataract
- Loss of vision
What is the recovery like after cataract surgery?
Dr. Croley and his staff at Central Florida Eye Institute in Ocala will discuss reasonable expectations with each patient prior to any procedure. Most patients do recover with no problems and have improved vision. In fact, serious complications are not common with modern cataract surgery.
Immediately after surgery, someone will need to drive you home. Vision is likely to be blurry at first, but rapidly improves within a few days. This is completely normal. There will be some itching and discomfort, but it is important not to rub or exert pressure on the treated eye. Heavy lifting is out, as it puts pressure on the eyes. Eye drops prevent inflammation and infection and control eye pressure.
Full healing should be complete in about one month. If both eyes have cataracts, we will schedule the second eye for surgery one or two months after the first.
• You may return to normal activities in just a few days.
• You will use eyedrops for a short period of time.
• Most patients function without any glasses for their distance activities (driving, golf, swimming).
• Glasses or OTC readers may be necessary for reading, sewing, or computer work unless you choose a Multifocal IOL customized cataract surgery.