A cataract is a slowly progressing disease of the eye in which the lens becomes gradually cloudier, rather than clear. This often occurs as a part of the aging process and is due to changes in the proteins of the eyes. Cataracts normally affect both eyes at once but sometimes one will grow faster than the other. This condition can sometimes be found in younger people or even children, but this is more uncommon. Smoking, diabetes, use of steroid medications, trauma to the eye and eye surgery are all catalysts for the formation of cataracts.
Cataracts cause gradually worsening vision, which presents as blurriness, glare that obstructs vision, nearsightedness and frequent eyeglass prescription changes. This condition is normally painless, at least until it becomes quite advanced and is not associated with other eye conditions or diseases. The vision eventually gets so bad that even changing the prescriptions won’t help any longer. At this point surgery is the only remaining option.
Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens from the eye and replacing it with a clear, artificial lens, much like wearing a contact lens on the inside of the eyeball. As of this writing there are three types of cataract surgery and I will review them in order from most current surgical procedure to the least used one.
1. Phacoemulsification: This procedure takes less than 30 minutes to perform, uses minimal sedation, typically in the form of numbing eye drops or an injection around the eye and dissolves the diseased lens of the eye into fragments for an easy removal through a very tiny hole. No stitches are necessary and no eye patch needs to be worn by the patient afterward.
2. Extracapsular cataract surgery: Extremely advanced cataracts are removed using this type of surgery because the diseased lens is too thick for dissolving. A larger incision is made and the cataract is removed all in one piece. The surgery is performed with the patient awake and the eye area numbed. The wound is sutured shut and an eye patch is worn for a few days after the operation.
3. Intracapsular cataract surgery: In this much older form of the operation, the lens is removed along with the capsule that holds it in place. Recovery time is longer and the patient is not supposed to look down for a few weeks and an eye patch must be worn for a while after the operation. While this is an uncommon technique these days, this operation is still used in cases of severe trauma to the eye.
There are at least 100 Opthalmologists that perform cataract surgery in the Oceanside, California area. Among them are Davies Eye center, with Dr. James A. Davies. Frederick W. Knapp Jr. DO. San Diego Vitreoretinal Associates with Dr. Joseph T. Daly, Dr. Anne M. Henneken, and Dr. Asha Nuthi. Pendleton Eye Center with Dr. William F. Maloney, and Dr. Robert B. Pendleton and G. M. Sally Mellgren MD Inc. with Dr. Grace M. Mellgren.
Cataract Surgery Oceanside