Cataract FAQs

Below is a list of questions commonly asked by people considering cataract surgery. If you are unable to find an answer to your question here, please email us or call us at 650-961-2585.

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.

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. 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 will evaluate your eyes carefully to determine how much your vision quality has decreased.

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 office, we can surgically remove your cataract or cataracts 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 years ago.

Small incision cataract surgery, such as phaco, offers a number of benefits. Phaco cataract surgery is brief, sometimes requiring fewer than 20 minutes. Recovery time following phaco cataract surgery is also short and most of our patients notice improvement almost immediately.

What is the difference between Multifocal, Light Adjustable Lens 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.

The Multifocal lens is a lens that uses adopized multifocal optics to allow for clear distance and near vision.  Although some Multifocal patients do see some haloes at night, over 80% of Multifocal patients never need glasses to see in the distance or up close.  The quality of vision with the Multifocal is quite high and is often an excellent choice for patient who want to be spectacle free after lens implant surgery.

The Light Adjustable Lens (LAL) was approved by the FDA in 2017 and is the only intraocular lens available whose power can be adjusted after cataract surgery.  Despite the many formulas that are available to help your surgeon choose the right power of intraocular lens during cataract surgery, there are factors related to healing and final lens resting position that are outside of a surgeon’s control.  Now with the LAL we can adjust the lens power three weeks after healing has completed to achieve the best possible vision for our patients without glasses.  This allows patients to trial and adjust their vision to their own personal needs.

It is important to discuss these lens options with Drs. Beers and Liu. There are many factors such as eye health, pre-existing astigmatism, and patient preference that are important to considering which implant is best for each patient.

What should I expect during the cataract procedure?

Cataract surgery is only 20 minutes long and is often performed in our outpatient surgical facility. During the pain free procedure, your surgeon will put anesthetic drops in your eye, remove the cloudy lens using an ultrasonic probe, and replace your old lens with a new implant. Once surgery is complete, your doctor 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 Multifocal and Light Adjustable Lens?

The ideal candidates for Multifocal and Light Adjustable Lens are men and women who are 50 years old and older with cataracts. Our Bay Area ophthalmology office, serving Mountain View and San Jose, will determine if you are a good candidate for cataract surgery with the Multifocal or Light Adjustable Lens. Contact Peninsula Eye Laser Medical Group today to learn more.

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