A cataract is a cloudiness that grows within the lens of the eye, preventing light from passing to the retina. This can blur your vision, similar to looking out of a foggy window.
Cataract surgery is the only way to correct cataracts. The procedure involves the removal of the clouded lens and then its replacement with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). It is a simple and safe procedure with a very high success rate. The procedure itself usually lasts only 15 to 30 minutes. Each eye surgeon’s procedure may vary slightly, but generally you can expect the following:
• A topical anesthetic is applied to the eye being operated on. This is to numb and immobilize your eye.
• The surgeon makes a small incision in the cornea with either a hand-held blade or a laser machine. A small probe then breaks up and removes the cataract, and the new lens is inserted. In some cases, such as when using an IOL from the AcrySof® IQ family of lenses, no stitches are required because the incision is so small.
• The surgeon will likely protect the eye with a bandage or shield, which is typically removed within a few hours.
• Recovery time is usually very rapid, with most patients resuming normal activities within 24 hours.
One option that can increase the accuracy of the procedure is the use of a femtosecond laser. Rather than the doctor manually performing certain steps of the operation, a laser machine such as Alcon’s LenSx® Laser can automate these steps with laser precision. The LenSx® Laser first maps the eye to obtain highly specific measurements and data that are used to plan each patient’s unique surgery. It then performs the incisions and breaks apart the cataract with more speed and precision than is possible manually. This increased accuracy contributes to more predictable surgical outcomes.
• The AcrySof® IQ ReSTOR® IOL is designed to provide cataract patients with a full range of vision. From reading to driving and everything in between, four out of five AcrySof® IQ ReSTOR® IOL recipients reported never wearing glasses after having the lens implanted in both eyes.
• The AcrySof® IQ Toric IOL is an ideal solution for patients with both cataracts and astigmatism. Astigmatism is a common condition that can result in the blurring of your vision, whether looking near or far, while cataracts develop as you age and cloud your vision. This can affect how you perform and enjoy everyday activities such as writing, using a smartphone or driving. Astigmatism usually occurs when the cornea or lens is misshapen and, if you have astigmatism, chances are you already wear glasses or contact lenses to correct the problem.
• The AcrySof® IQ Aspheric IOL was designed to significantly improve visual clarity and image quality.