Cataracts will affect most Americans at some point in their lives, so it is highly likely that you will develop a cataract someday. Changing prescriptions, using brighter light bulbs, or using magnification may improve your vision temporarily, but the cataract will continue to progress until it is surgically removed.
Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States, with more than 3 million Americans electing to have cataract surgery every year. June is Cataract Awareness Month, so here are some facts about traditional cataract surgery and laser-assisted cataract surgery.
In traditional cataract surgery, the surgeon uses a hand-held blade made of metal or diamond to create an incision where the sclera meets the cornea. With the help of a tiny probe that emits ultrasound waves, the surgeon breaks up the cataract and removes it by suction. An artificial lens called an IOL, or intraocular lens, is inserted into the same incision. It becomes a part of the eye and functions like a brand new lens.
Laser-assisted cataract surgery uses a femtosecond laser to create the incision to remove the cataract. The surgeon creates a specific surgical plan with a 3-D image of the eye called OCT (optical coherence tomography) to allow for ultimate accuracy and precision. Laser-assisted cataract surgery is bladeless, which means that the incisions used to remove the cataract are made by the laser, not a knife. It is also fully customizable to deliver exacting results.
Whether you choose traditional cataract surgery or laser-assisted cataract surgery, you can expect to recover quickly and enjoy improved vision. Nine out of 10 people who have cataract surgery regain very good vision, somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40. Talk to your ophthalmologist about what cataract treatment option is best for you during Cataract Awareness Month!