Understanding Cataracts

Cataract surgery is performed on millions of people each year in the United States and is considered to be one of the most commonly performed eye surgeries worldwide. 

So What Is A Cataract?

A cataract is the result of a clouding that occurs to the natural crystalline lens in the eye. Although most cataracts are caused by the natural aging process, cataracts can result from injury, surgery, radiation, eye disease and certain medications. Some babies are even born with cataracts.

What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of A Cataract?

  • Blurry vision
  • Diminished night vision
  • Double vision
  • Lack of vibrancy to colors
  • Decreased night vision
  • Frequent eye glass changes 

How Is A Cataract Diagnosed?

A cataract is diagnosed during a dilated eye exam. Just as you see your dentist on a regular basis to maintain your teeth, it is important to see the eye doctor to maintain the health of your eyes.  

What Happens Once A Cataract Is Diagnosed?

A cataract may be detected during an annual eye exam before you are experiencing any vision symptoms. In this case Dr. Balin will recommend yearly exams to monitor the cataract. Once a Cataract begins adversely affecting your vision Dr. Balin will need to surgically remove your cataract. You may have a cataract in one eye or both.   

What Is Cataract Surgery?

During cataract surgery your eye will be numbed so you will not feel any pain. Using a technique known as phacoemulsification, Dr. Balin will break up the impaired lens and remove it from the eye. A new artificial lens known as an intraocular lens will be inserted and positioned into the eye. Today, patients have many choices in intraocular lenses. Dr. Balin will review these lens options with you at your pre-op exam.

Are There Risks With Cataract Surgery?

According to the National Institute of Health, cataract surgery is considered to be one of the safest and most commonly performed surgeries in the United States. However, it is surgery and all surgery involves risk.  Some of the risks include infection, bleeding and a loss of vision. Dr. Balin will review the risks with you at your pre-op exam.  

What Should I Expect Following My Cataract Surgery?

You will need a driver for after your surgery and one day post op appointment. If you need transportation, we do offer van service within a specified area. You may feel some mild to moderate discomfort as your numbing drops wear off.  Any severe pain should be reported to the doctor immediately. 

Dr. Balin will assess your vision at your post op appointments and let you know when it is safe for you to drive. Following your surgery, you will need to protect your eye as it heals. We recommend wearing shields when sleeping and wearing protective sunglasses while outside.

Our surgical nurse will review the following post op instructions with you:

  • Do not strain, bend over or lift heavy objects for the first two weeks after surgery. This adds pressure which could damage sensitive corneal tissue.
  • Avoid activities that could cause your eye to be bumped.
  • Do not swim or use hot tubs. Shower with your eyes closed for the first couple of weeks. Even clean water contains harmful bacteria that normal eyes filter out. With sensitive post-surgery eyes, it could lead to an infection, so be more careful than normal.
  • Do not miss your post op appointments!

Have more questions about cataract surgery? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Balin at Balin Eye & Laser Center at one of our convenient locations in Northampton and Springfield, MA today! There’s no reason to live with the debilitating effects of cataracts any longer!

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