Are you experiencing blurriness or cloudiness in your vision?
Are colors duller than they were when you were younger?
Is it more difficult to read print than it used to be?
Are you struggling to see well enough at night to drive confidently?
You may be experiencing the beginning stages of cataracts. And who wants to waste their prime years with cloudy vision?
Swagel Wootton Eye Institute, the Center of Excellence, is here to help.
- A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens that blocks it from properly focusing light on the retina.
- A cataract is not a growth, which is a common misconception.
- Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of 50, according to the National Institutes of Health.
- As the U.S. population ages, more than 30 million Americans are expected to develop cataracts by the year 2020, according to Prevent Blindness America.
- Today, cataracts affect more than 22 million Americans age 50 and older (PBA).
- More than 2 million men and women undergo cataract surgery every year, making the procedure one of the most common medical procedures in the U.S. today (PBA).
How Do I Know if I Have Cataracts?
Because vision generally weakens with age, distinguishing the symptoms of naturally aging eyes from the beginning signs of cataracts can be tricky. But having an annual eye exam, especially if you’re over 55 years of age, is an important first step in early cataract detection to minimize vision loss.
What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
Symptoms associated with cataracts can vary from person to person but generally include:
- Blurry vision
- Trouble reading without adequate light
- Problem with glare from bright light
- Night driving becomes difficult due to glare from lights
- Increased eye strain
- Seeing double with one eye open
- Filmy, foggy or cloudy vision
- Colors seem faded or yellowish
- Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription
- A new ability to see up close without using reading glasses, often called ‘second sight’
Anything on that list ringing a bell?
A comprehensive cataract screening is the first step in determining if you have cataracts and which treatment choice can be best tailored to your unique vision.
Your cataract appointment will involve a series of computer-aided and traditional testing methods administered by a skilled technician. We will determine your eyes’ prescription, topography and overall health, followed by a thorough overview of treatment options and a meeting with one of Swagel Wootton Eye Care’s experienced ophthalmologists.
Think of the lens inside the eye as a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina in order to produce clear vision. It also adjusts the eye’s focus, allowing us to see things clearly up close and far away.
The lens is primarily made up of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise pattern that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it.
But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract, and over time, it may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.
It is unknown for sure why this happens. But researchers worldwide agree on several factors that are associated with cataract development. Besides advancing age, cataract risk factors include:
- Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources
- Prolonged use of corticosteroids
- Statin medicines used to reduce cholesterol
- Trauma to or inflammation of the eye
- Previous eye surgery
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Significant alcohol consumption
- Family history
- High myopia
A cataract is among the most common causes of vision loss among older individuals. But unlike other eye conditions, it can be corrected in almost all cases.
While older people are more prone to developing cataracts, they can also affect younger people. Many individuals do not realize that they have a cataract in the early stages. Left untreated, the condition worsens slowly over months and years, but cataract surgery can correct the problem.
How are Cataracts Treated?
It is important to know that cataracts cannot be treated with medication, diet or eye drops, and they will not heal on their own. Cataracts must be removed in order to restore vision. Cataract surgery is the only way to remove the cataract.
How Does Cataract Surgery Work?
Cataracts can be removed comfortably, quickly and effectively with surgery at Swagel Wootton Eye Institute. During the procedure, the lens of the eye is gently removed and an artificial lens is put in its place. Typically, vision is restored in days following cataract surgery.
While all surgeries have risks, the success rate for cataract surgery is extremely high. Surgery is typically very comfortable, with most patients reporting minimal to no discomfort.
At Swagel Wootton Eye Institute, we are proud to offer a state-of-the-art laser platform for cataract surgery.
Combining our cataract surgeons’ years of experience with the advanced laser technology takes cataract surgery at Swagel Wootton Eye Institute to a higher level. Benefits of laser-assisted cataract surgery include the opportunity for added safety and precision.
Call 480-641-3937or click here to schedule a cataract appointment today.
Laser-assisted cataract surgery provides a custom procedure using real-time three-dimensional imaging. The use of the laser potentially makes cataract surgery simpler with fewer complications and faster recovery in many cases.
The laser precision also allows for astigmatism to be treated – if needed – at the time of your surgery.
Laser cataract surgery is a blade-free procedure. Since your surgeon spends less time breaking up the cataract, it may decrease eye irritation and inflammation commonly associated with traditional cataract procedures.
Key Benefits to Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery
Laser-assisted cataract surgery offers many benefits not found with traditional cataract surgery.
- A highly customized procedure using advanced 3D imaging
- Used in conjunction with premium LifeStyle lenses, also known as intraocular lenses (IOLs), to reduce or eliminate dependency on glasses
- Little or no discomfort
- Advanced precision
- Gentler, faster cataract removal
- Generally, a more rapid recovery of vision due to reduced inflammation
During your cataract surgery counseling appointment, you will receive specific information on the cost of the procedure from our experienced staff at Swagel Wootton Eye Institute. We will help you determine the best customized treatment plan for you.
If you don’t like simplifying things where possible, skip this section.
But if you enjoy streamlining processes and are a fan of the phrase “keep it simple”, read on.
Ask any cataract patient what they believe is the most frustrating aspect of cataract surgery. Typically, it’s not the actual procedure. Or even the recovery. Typically, you’ll hear about the grueling eyedrop regimen; drops in the morning, drops at lunch and drops at dinner. So many eye drops!
With standard cataract surgery, patients are required to diligently use multiple different medicated eye drops before and after their procedures to prevent infection and to promote healing. The rigid eyedrop schedules, which can be prescribed up to four times a day for up to a month, are difficult for patients to follow and challenging for doctors to monitor.
One-Drop Cataract Surgery at Swagel Wootton Eye Institute is designed to simplify your recovery process by reducing the number of drops required after surgery.
With One-Drop Cataract Surgery at Swagel Wootton Eye Institute, your surgeon administers a mixture of antibiotic and steroid drops during the procedure so that only one prescription drop per day must be used after surgery, rather than the traditional three. The medication remains in the eye and slowly dissolves while the eye is healing, allowing most patients to enjoy a more convenient recovery process with only one eye drop prescription.
Most patients report One-Drop Cataract Surgery reduces:
- The cost of prescription eye drops since only one is prescribed
- The confusing eye drop schedule following surgery
One Drop = More Freedom!
At your Swagel Wootton Eye Institute cataract consultation, we will be able to determine if you are a good candidate for One-Drop Cataract Surgery.
At Swagel Wootton Eye Institute, we are proud to offer the most advanced lens implants and combine them with the latest laser technology to give clear and accurate results for our patients.
Following your cataract removal, either with traditional methods or with the laser, an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is placed inside your eye to replace your affected natural eye lens. With advances in cataract surgery and lens replacement options, you may now be able to see clearly for the first time in years.
Your lens (IOL) options for cataract surgery include:
- Multifocal LifeStyle Lenses with Laser-Assisted Technology
- Toric LifeStyle Lenses with Laser-Assisted Technology
- Traditional (monovision) Lenses
Monofocal Lenses (Single-focus)
Traditional lenses, also called single-focus or monofocal lenses, correct your vision for distance or near, but not both. They also do not correct for astigmatism.
Important to note, if you choose a monofocal lens for distance vision, you may still need glasses for reading and other close-up activities. Conversely, if you choose a monovision lens for near vision, you might need to wear glasses to drive or see objects at a distance.
When cataract surgery is medically necessary, standard, monovision lenses are covered by your insurance company.
It’s true; cataracts are part of getting older. But thanks to amazing advances in lens exchange procedures, they don’t have to slow you down or even cause you to have to modify your lifestyle at ALL!
Intraocular lenses work by replacing the focusing power of your eye’s natural lens. Choosing LifeStyle Lenses gives you the best possible vision. With LifeStyle Lenses, many people never need glasses after cataract surgery, or only wear them occasionally. It is well worth your time to consider a LifeStyle Lens.
Lifestyle Lenses are designed for people who live active lifestyles and want to reduce or eliminate the need to wear glasses or bifocals after cataract surgery.
LifeStyle Lenses = Freedom!
With Swagel Wootton Eye Institute’s LifeStyle Lenses, we are able to customize each procedure according to the way you use your vision the majority of the time. And this procedure is catered to your individual hobbies and interests.
Whether you love to golf, hike, swim, play with your grandchildren or enjoy a good book, we have a procedure that is tailor-made for you.
Swagel Wootton Eye Institute offers many of the latest options in lens technology. Each of these lenses was designed to help maximize your independence from glasses after cataract surgery.
Multifocal LifeStyle Lenses
The experienced eye surgeons at Swagel Wootton Eye Institute use the latest technology, including the Tecnis Multifocal LifeStyle Lenses because of its proven positive clinical results.
Nearly 9 out of 10 patients do not need glasses after cataract surgery with Tecnis Multifocal lenses and 94% of patients say they would choose this LifeStyle Lens option again. The Tecnis lens performed above other multifocal implants in visual quality, glare and ability to see in low lighting conditions.
Tecnis Multifocal LifeStyle Lenses have a design that focuses light from distance, intermediate and near to greatly reduce or eliminate the need for glasses. Like wearing bifocals, there can be a short adjustment period for some where the brain learns how to use the new optical system effectively.
Your Swagel Wootton Eye Institute doctor will discuss your LifeStyle Lens options with you and if you are a candidate for a multifocal LifeStyle Lens. Together, we will help you select the best lens to help you live you life how you want to live it!
Toric LifeStyle Lenses
Toric LifeStyle Lenses correct astigmatism, further reducing your dependency on glasses after cataract surgery. Standard monovision lenses don’t correct astigmatism without additional procedures, so you may need glasses to see clearly even after cataract surgery. If you want better vision without glasses, a toric LifeStyle Lens option could be for you.
A consultation appointment with your Swagel Wootton Eye Institute doctor will help determine if you’re a good candidate for a toric astigmatism correcting LifeStyle Lens.
Symfony LifeStyle Lenses
A new category of LifeStyle lenses has emerged with the introduction of the Tecnis Symfony, a newly FDA-approved lens that not only provides clear vision but corrects presbyopia, an age-related condition that causes farsightedness. A toric version of the Symfony Lens has also been approved for patients with astigmatism. Swagel Wootton Eye Institute is proud to offer these amazing lenses.
The Symfony lens has been specially designed to prevent some of the more common complications of older lenses, in which the ability to focus is diminished. Clinical studies of the Symfony lens have also shown lower incidences of halo and glare.
A consultation appointment with your Swagel Wootton Eye Institute doctor will help determine if you’re a good candidate for the Tecnis Symfony LifeStyle Lens.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a medical condition in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque, resulting in blurred vision. As cataracts progress, traditional contacts and glasses are unable to fully correct the vision, and surgery is necessary to replace the natural lens of the eye.
How fast do cataracts progress?
Cataracts that are due to aging generally progress slowly over the course of several years. But those associated with diabetic patients or even trauma to the eye can progress rapidly. It is not possible to predict accurately how rapidly cataracts will progress in any given patient.
Will everyone eventually get cataracts?
It is likely everyone who lives long enough will get a cataract. Most cataracts are related to aging. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
Cataract symptoms include blurry vision with dim or faded colors and sensitivity to bright light. Patients may also notice glare and halos as well as poor night vision. Cataracts often go unnoticed until a doctor discovers them during an exam.
How are cataracts removed?
Cataracts can be removed comfortably, quickly and effectively with surgery. In this surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and an artificial lens is put back in its place. Typically, vision is restored in days. While all surgeries have risks, the success rate of cataract surgery is extremely high. Most patients report minimal to no discomfort.
What results can I expect from my cataract surgery?
In the majority of cataract surgeries, vision is significantly improved immediately after surgery but will continue to improve over the next few days and weeks. In most cases, patients are able to resume normal activities (including work) the day after surgery.
What is the difference between traditional cataract surgery and laser cataract surgery?
The most recent breakthrough in cataract surgery is the introduction of the cataract laser. At Swagel Wootton Eye Institute, we offer FDA-approved laser cataract technology. In the opinion of our surgeons, this adds to the safety, accuracy and precision of the procedure.