Cataracts are a part of the aging process but they do not have to interfere with your lifestyle. Tremendous advancements have been made in cataract surgery techniques and technologies. Nationally, over three million cataract procedures are performed annually. Remarkably, many patients experience vision quality that is superior to their pre-cataract baseline.
What is a cataract?
A cataract refers to the clouding of the eye’s lens. A cataract may occur as part of the normal aging process, or may be caused by heredity, eye trauma, diabetes, and even some medications. Over time, cataracts can severely reduce your vision, usually causing sensitivity to light as well as fuzzy or blurred vision at near or distance (or both).
Virtually every individual over age 65 has some cataract formation in their eyes. At one time, this condition was a leading cause of blindness worldwide, but today cataracts can be treated effectively. Symptoms may include blurry vision, color distortion, impaired depth perception and poor night vision. Modern treatment techniques at our Mountain View ophthalmology office make cataract surgery safe, fast, and effective.
Cataract surgery is required when decreased vision affects your everyday activities. Drs. Beers and Liu of our Cataract Center will evaluate your eyes carefully to determine how much your vision quality has decreased.
Cataract Versus Normal Vision
Drs. Beers and Liu specialize in Cataract Surgery
Drs. Beers and Liu are widely recognized as leaders in the field of cataract surgery. Dr. Beers has been teaching the latest surgical techniques for performing cataract surgery to ophthalmology residents at Stanford University for almost two decades, and Dr. Liu has extensively trained ophthalmology residents at UC Irvine. They have performed over 8,000 cataract surgeries with excellent results; 99% of cataract surgeries result in vision improvement.
Rather than operating in a cold hospital environment, Drs. Liu and Beers perform cataract surgery in their own Peninsula Eye Surgery Center, conveniently located across the street from their main office. Newly opened in 2005, the surgery center is comfortable, well-equipped and expertly staffed. Last year, more cataract surgeries were performed there than at any other outpatient eye surgery center in Northern California.
At the surgery center, Drs. Beers and Liu use the latest techniques in cataract surgery. They are able to implant a multifocal lens or a Crystalens® accommodating lens, which both allow patients to be more spectacle independent when compared with a standard intraocular lens implant. In fact , more than twice the number of patients implanted with a multifocal or Crystalens® could see at all distances when compared to a standard IOL.
How long does the procedure take?
The cataract procedure takes approximately 20 minutes. Drs. Liu or Beers will carefully place numbing drops in your eye, remove the cloudy lens using an ultrasonic probe, and replace your old lens with new artificial lens implant. Once surgery is complete, the doctors will place additional drops in your eye to decrease inflammation and prevent infection. The small incision heals quickly. Because no sutures and needed, most patients can resume normal activities within a few days and there is no need to wear an eye patch.
Can a cataract be treated safely?
Cataract formations can affect one or both of your eyes at the same time. They can also develop at different rates. At our Mountain View area ophthalmology offices, we can surgically remove your cataract safely and effectively. Cataract surgery has proven remarkably successful, 99 percent of cataract surgeries resulting in vision improvement.
What is Phacoemulsification (PHACO)?
Also offered at our Mountain View area ophthalmology office is phacoemulsification, or phaco, a cataract surgery that requires a small incision of only 3.0 millimeters or less. In phaco cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is broken into tiny pieces (emulsified) by a small ultrasonic probe inserted into the eye. The probe then gently suctions the pieces from the eye, leaving a clear membrane where the intraocular lens is inserted. This intraocular lens is necessary to replace the focusing power of the removed natural lens. With insertion of an intraocular lens, there is little need for thick cataract glasses and contact lenses that were used decades ago.
Small incision cataract surgery, such as phaco, offers a number of benefits. Phaco cataract surgery is brief, sometimes requiring fewer than 15 minutes. Recovery time following phaco cataract surgery is also short and most of our patients notice improvement almost immediately.
What is ORA?
The ORA System guides the surgeon to determine the most accurate intraocular lens (IOL) power to correct refractive error and astigmatism, resulting in the clearest possible vision after cataract surgery. The ORA System™ works by directing a beam of low intensity laser light into the eye during surgery. The laser light reflects off of the patient’s retina, and sensors in the instrument analyze the reflected wave of light exiting the eye. This real-time analysis measures the unique optical characteristics of each eye, and gives the surgeon an accurate measurement of the eye’s refraction. This is especially critical for patients who elect for a premium lens implant (Multifocal, Crystalens, and toric IOLs) and those who have had prior LASIK or other refractive surgery.
What is the Multifocal Lens?
The multifocal lens allows for clear distance and near vision. Over 80% of patients receiving the Multifocal lens report never using eyeglasses for any task. Please see the the Multifocal Implant center page for more information.
What is the Crystalens?
Crystalens is a breakthrough in vision enhancement for those who have undergone cataract surgery. The Crystalens is an accommodating intraocular lens implant made from a proprietary and specially formulated silicone material that allows the lens to focus within the eye. Working naturally with your eyes’ muscles, the Crystalens cataract replacement lens helps you achieve better vision quality following cataract surgery. The Crystalens utilizes a state-of-the-art design that allows the replacement lens to seamlessly focus on objects nearby and far away. Dr. Daniel Beers and Dr. Jeffrey Liu of our Mountain View ophthalmology office serving San Jose and the entire Bay Area will take precise measurements to ensure the correct lens power selection for your eye.
What is the difference between Crystalens and other lens implants?
Traditional intraocular lens implants are classified as monofocal, meaning they only allow patients to focus on nearby objects or distant objects. Since a patient’s vision is corrected for only distance vision or close vision, the patient requires the aid of prescription glasses.
Crystalens allows patients to focus on objects that are distant, nearby, and anywhere in between. During the clinical trial period, 497 eyes received Crystalens implants over a two-year period. The trials showed that the implants were able to greatly reduce or eliminate the need for prescription glasses in over 80% of patients who received Crystalens in both eyes.
What should I expect during the Crystalens procedure?
The Crystalens implant procedure is the same cataract surgery procedure performed on over 7 million eyes globally each year. The Crystalens surgery is only 15-20 minutes long and is often performed in an outpatient surgical facility. During the pain free procedure, one of our Mountain View ophthalmology and cataract surgery specialists will put drops in your eye, remove the cloudy lens using an ultrasonic probe, and replace your old lens with a Crystalens implant. Once surgery is complete, the doctors will place additional drops in your eye to decrease inflammation and prevent infection. The small opening into the eye heals quickly and requires no stitches.
Who is an ideal candidate for Crystalens?
The ideal candidates for Crystalens are men and women who are 50 years old and older with cataracts. A patient who has undergone LASIK is still a good candidate for Crystalens® as long as the patient’s eyes are in good health. Ask your doctor if the Crystalens may be right for your eyes.
Our Bay Area ophthalmology office, serving Mountain View and San Jose, will determine if you are a good candidate for cataract surgery or Crystalens. Call (650) 961-2585 or schedule online today!