ataracts are one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in persons over the age of 65. Now, with the advanced small incision cataract procedure available from Dr. Gary M. Jacobs, the treatment of cataracts is one of the most common and successful surgical procedures performed in medicine today.

What is a cataract ?

In order for the eye to see clearly, light rays enter through the front, clear portion of the eye known as the cornea. From here, the light rays pass through the pupil and the lens of the eye, where they are precisely focused on the retina. The retina is the photosensitive membrane or "screen" at the back of the eye that transforms these light images into electrical signals. These impulses are passed through the optic nerve to the brain, which interprets them as images.

A cataract is a progressive clouding of the normally transparent crystalline lens of the eye that interferes with light focusing on the retina. It is normally caused by the aging process, but can occur as a result of trauma to the eye, drugs, systemic disease and ocular disease.

What are the symptoms of a cataract ?

When a cataract first begins, people will notice a painless blurring of vision. This can be associated with sensitivity to light and glare, especially in bright sunlight or while driving at night. As the cataract worsens and the cloudiness increases, more light is blocked from getting to the retina. At this stage, many people will complain of poor night vision, the inability to read or watch television, and the fading and yellowing of colors.



How is a cataract detected ?

A thorough eye examination by Dr. Jacobs can detect the presence and extent of a cataract, as well as any other condition that may be causing blurred vision.
In addition to the cataract, there may be other reasons for visual loss, particularly problems involving the retina or optic nerve. If these problems are present, perfect vision may not return after cataract removal.

How are cataracts treated ?

If symptoms from a cataract are mild, a change of glasses may be all that is needed to function more comfortably. There are no medications, dietary supplements, exercises, or optical devices that have been shown to prevent or cure cataracts. When you are not able to see well enough to do the things you like to do, cataract surgery should be considered. Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract.

Contrary to popular belief, cataracts are not removed by laser and they do not need to be "ripe" before they can be removed.

What can I expect if I decide to have surgery ?

Modern cataract surgery involves the removal of the clouded, natural lens of the eye and replacing it with a man-made intraocular lens implant to restore good vision.

Dr. Jacobs performs the outpatient procedure under local anesthesia using a "no-stitch" technique. Dr. Jacobs first removes the cataract by using a process known as "phacoemulsification". This advanced technique uses ultrasound to break up and liquefy the cataract, which is then suctioned out through an extremely small self-sealing incision.

Next, Dr. Jacobs restores the focusing power of the natural lens by replacing it with a man-made permanent intraocular lens implant. As illustrated, the intraocular lens implant functions just like the natural lens of the eye to once again focus light rays clearly onto the retina.

Cataract surgery is considered one of the most successful surgical procedures performed today with a success rate of over 95%. More than a million people have successful cataract surgery each year in the United States.



What to expect after cataract surgery ?

Dr. Jacobs is a specialist in small incision cataract surgery. This means patients recover faster than ever before. Since Dr. Jacobs performs this procedure on an outpatient basis, patients come in for their surgery in the morning and are home by that afternoon. Dr. Jacobs sees all patients the following day at his office. Vision usually returns within a day, and total recovery takes 2-3 weeks. For most patients there is little, if any, disruption in their daily activities.

 

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