Robert Friedman, M.D.
Cathleen McCabe, M.D.
Brian Foster, M.D.
Everyone develops cataracts. Eventually.
Cataracts are a normal part of the aging process and are present in half of adults over age 65. They occur when the natural crystalline lens in the eye becomes cloudy.
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Causes of Cataracts
Most cataracts are just a natural part of the aging process, but there are some types that may result from trauma, occur at birth, be caused by diseases such as diabetes, or result from taking certain drugs. The development of cataracts is usually a very slow process. In its early stages, eyeglasses are effective in relieving the problems caused by the cataract. However, as time goes on and the condition worsens, the only effective means of restoring vision is surgery.
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Common Symptoms of Cataracts
- Blurred Distance Vision: Vision in general starts to blur, but it is especially noticeable when driving or watching TV from a normal distance.
- Sensitivity to Glare: Many people find it difficult to drive towards the sun. They also find it harder to see golf balls against a bright sky, even though vision may seem acceptable under other circumstances.
- Night Blindness: Because a cataract allows less light through the lens, it may become more bothersome in low light conditions, especially when trying to drive at night.
- Loss of Depth Perception: If you find yourself bumping the curb when parking, or if others say that you get too close to cars while driving, you may have a cataract in just one eye, which can cause difficulty in judging distances.
- Difficulty Reading: Reading vision is often blurry, making it difficult to read medicine bottles and phone books.
- Loss of Color Perception: This symptom usually goes unnoticed until after the cataract has been removed and the patient can see the difference in the colors of their surroundings.
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, an eye exam will determine if a cataract is the reason. Contact The Eye Associates today for a cataract evaluation with one of our Board Certified Physicians.
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Restoring Vision Through the Miracle of Cataract Surgery
Restoration of vision is accomplished every day through the miracle of cataract surgery.
The procedure is highly successful and the most commonly performed surgery in the United States. “Once a cataract has formed, the only way to restore vision is to surgically remove the cloudy lens,” explains Dr.
Foster. Using the newest, most advanced technology of the Infiniti® Vision System, your skilled surgeon will safely and gently remove the cataract. The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and under local anesthesia. The actual surgery takes less than 15 minutes, although you will be here longer for pre-op and post-op care. Patients are thrilled to have their vision restored in such a fast, safe, and pain-free manner. They are usually able to resume most normal activities within hours, and frequently have better vision than they had before they developed cataracts.
No-Stitch Cataract Surgery
Here at The Eye Associates, our surgeons perform a technique known as “no-stitch” cataract surgery. By making a tiny, tunnel incision into the eye to remove the cataract, the eye's own pressure seals the small incision so stitches become unnecessary, and the healing process becomes more comfortable and natural.
Topical, No-Needle Cataract Surgery Gives “Instant Vision”
Especially popular with people that shudder at the idea of needles
It is no longer necessary to use needle injections to numb the eye for cataract surgery. Today, topical anesthesia with eye drops can be used to anesthetize your eye. Dr. Robert Friedman explains, “An advantage of topical anesthesia is that you are able to see immediately after cataract surgery, thus ‘Instant Vision,’ without waiting for the injection anesthesia to wear off.” Topical anesthesia, though, is not for all patients, because you must be able to hold your eye still during surgery. However, since cataract surgery generally takes less than 15 minutes, most do not have a problem doing this.
Clear Cornea Incision for People Taking Blood Thinners
Another advancement in cataract surgery is the clear cornea incision, which avoids blood vessels. This type of incision is helpful for patients taking blood-thinning medications.
To learn more about the many benefits of cataract surgery and how the procedure may be able to help you regain and maintain good vision, contact The Eye Associates today.
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The Eye Associates Out-Patient Surgery Center
The Eye Associates’ Surgery and Laser Center and its highly trained staff are uniquely and exclusively dedicated to eye procedures. We are state licensed, Medicare approved and even have an advanced accreditation from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) , given only to those with superior patient care ratings.
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The Infiniti® Vision System
For Increased Safety & Enhanced Outcomes
The Eye Associates’ Surgery Center was the first in the Manatee/Sarasota area to acquire the Infiniti® Vision System for cataract surgery. This new science provides active monitoring of all critical parameters and reduces mechanical stress on the eye; thereby increasing the safety of the procedure. The added gentleness this equipment brings to the procedure speeds recovery time so active patients can resume their normal lifestyle more quickly.
The Infiniti® Vision System also offers your surgeon the choice of "AquaLase®" technology. This technology uses pulses of a warm, naturally balanced solution to gently break up the clouded lens and then "wash away" the lens layer by layer. This method represents the first major advancement from industry standards for almost 20 years.
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High Tech Lenses
Years ago, very thick glasses were commonly worn after cataract surgery. However, today we are able to surgically place a tiny lens, called an Intraocular Lens or IOL, with the custom corrective power you require in the eye itself, thereby, eliminating the need for thick glasses. Modern computerized equipment and technology enables us to determine the precise power for your eye. “Until recently, most cataract surgery patients did not have a choice of what kind of IOL they received. The standard single focus IOL was used; intended to give clear distance vision but no correction for near vision." explains Dr. Cathleen McCabe.
Now, all that has changed. Today's cataract patients have more options than ever and can upgrade to a high tech lens that may offer them better vision! Some patients that have worn glasses for their entire lives are thrilled to discover they can now see without wearing glasses, thanks to their IOL.
High Tech IOLs – The Near Vision Advantage
Imagine being able to read menus and newspapers, work on a computer, and also have the ability to drive, all without glasses! Now with the FDA approved
High Tech IOLs, such as the Crystalens®, the ReSTOR®,
and the TECNIS® Multifocal we are able to offer patients the choice of these high tech lenses, designed to allow patients to see distance AND near, and minimizing the need for glasses.
- Click here to read more about our high tech lenses.
Matching the Right IOL For Your Eyes
Your surgeon will evaluate the health of your eyes, your lifestyle, and the degree of your desire to be glasses-free before making a recommendation of which IOL will positively impact your vision and life. Once that decision has been made, a series of tests will be performed to determine the power of lens needed for your procedure.
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Can cataracts grow back?
No, cataracts cannot grow back. However, sometimes after successful cataract surgery, the natural capsule that is left behind becomes cloudy and causes the vision to become blurry again, much like it was before cataract surgery. This occurs in approximately 30 percent of patients, and can be soon after surgery or many years later. Not to worry, though. This cloudy capsule can be corrected quickly, without needles or stitches, using a simple laser procedure, called a YAG Laser Capsulotomy. "We use a YAG laser beam to create a small opening in the capsule, which provides a clear path for light to pass into your eye. No anesthesia is required for this painless procedure, and in most cases, people see sharply again right after the procedure, usually returning to most normal activities that same day." explains Dr. Foster.
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Protect Your Driving Privileges
Driving is a vital part of maintaining an independent lifestyle, so it is important that you do all you can to maintain good vision. A study of patients with cataracts compared the number of car accidents of those having had cataract surgery with those that had not. It found that cataract surgery patients had 50 percent fewer car accidents compared to those who did not have the surgery, concluding that cataract surgery benefits older drivers by enhancing vision and helping them to become safer drivers. In fact, after cataract surgery, many patients actually experience better vision than they had before they developed cataracts, giving patients a lifetime of better vision and safer driving.
This can be further enhanced by the TECNIS IOLs, both the Monofocal and
Multifocal lens are proven to improve driver reaction time in all light
conditions, including night time driving.
A Lifetime of Better Vision
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a cataract, the first step is to have a comprehensive eye examination. Your doctor will be able to determine if a cataract is the cause of your decreased vision. If it is, and if it is inhibiting your quality of life and the activities that bring you joy, then the surgeon will help you determine which option is best for your eyes and lifestyle.
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CLICK HERE if you would like to attend one of our free cataract seminars at The Eye Associates, or would like to make an appointment for a cataract evaluation today.