Cataracts

What is a cataract?

Closeup of a Mature Cataract in an EyeA cataract is the clouding of your eye’s natural lens. Cataract surgery is an option, if your vision is poor enough that you are having difficulty doing the things you want to do, or if your vision is significantly annoying to you. With cataract surgery we take your cloudy lens out and put a new, clear lens in, a “lens implant” or “intra-ocular lens”.

What causes cataracts?

The most common cause of cataract is aging. Sooner or later, most of us will develop cataracts. Other causes include trauma, medications such as steroids, systemic diseases such as diabetes, and prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Cataracts usually develop and progress slowly, causing a gradual and painless decrease in vision.

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Other changes you might experience include:

  • Glare, particularly at night. This is the most frequent reason people choose to have surgery.
  • Frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription
  • Decrease in color intensity
  • Yellowing of images
  • Double vision

What is the treatment for cataracts?

With a routine, outpatient surgical procedure for cataracts in York, PA our skilled ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) can remove the cataract by making a small incision in the eye and removing your natural lens with ultrasound (phacoemulsification). A synthetic intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted at the time of cataract extraction to replace the focusing power of the natural lens that was removed. IOLs can be monofocal (fixed-focus for a preset distance) or multifocal, which allows focused vision at many distances. The time to have cataract surgery is when the cataract is affecting your vision enough to interfere with your normal lifestyle or when vision is substantially annoying.

Illustration of Various IOLs

Cataract surgery is a very successful operation. One and a half million people have this procedure every year in the United States, and 98% have a successful result. As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur during or after surgery, and some are severe enough to limit vision. But in most cases vision, as well as quality of life, improves.

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