What Happens To The Eyes With Cataracts?

Older woman smiling with Cataracts

Cataracts are something that every person will have to deal with at some point in their life. They are a completely natural part of getting older.

Though they are common, they are quite easy to take care of as well. But what exactly are cataracts and how do the surgeons at Arizona Eye in Glendale, AZ remove them? Keep reading to learn what happens to the eye with cataracts!

What Cataracts Are and What They Do

Cataracts grow inside of the lens of the eye. This happens when certain proteins that naturally exist in the lens begin to break down.

This is usually due to age, but can also occur because of other factors like injury or extended steroid use. Cataracts grow progressively. They cover more areas of the lens and become more opaque as time moves on.

Under normal conditions, these proteins have a natural arrangement that allows light to pass through them. When the cataract has matured, light stops being able to pass through.

This is what causes vision loss, as our eyes need to be able to absorb light to process and send information to the brain.

Vision loss is not the only symptom of a cataract. Cataracts can also cause:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Visual aberrations
  • Fading colors
  • Double vision

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, set up a screening at our office.

How Cataract Surgery Works

To remove cataracts, it requires removing the entire lens, not only the cataract. This process is actually quite simple in the hands of a skilled eye surgeon.

First, the surgeon creates a circular incision in the cornea. This leaves a small amount of the tissue attached so the cornea is then opened up like a flap.

Then, a special probe is inserted through the opening and pupil next to the cornea. This probe is capable of emitting a powerful, yet subtle sound wave.

It’s strong enough to break the lens into small pieces without damaging the rest of the eye. After breaking apart the cornea, the pieces are removed using a small amount of gentle suction.

Now that the lens is gone, so are the cataracts. But without the lens, you will not be able to see.

To fix this new problem, the surgeon inserts an IOL or intraocular lens. An IOL is an artificial lens that focuses light onto the retina.

It takes over the job of the previously clouded natural lens. The most basic form can only correct vision at a single distance, either near or far.

You can invest in premium IOLs that can transfer your focus between distances smoothly. There are quite a few options to choose from. Be sure to ask about your options during your cataract screening.

After implanting the IOL, the cornea is simply closed with no need for stitches. Recovery begins immediately.

You’ll need to follow some important guidelines to keep your vision safe during this time. If you have cataracts in both eyes, you’ll recover from cataract surgery on the first eye before having surgery on the second eye.

Ready to find out if it’s time to have cataract surgery? Schedule your cataract screening at Arizona Eye Physicians and Surgeons in Glendale, AZ today!

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