What is a cataract?
As we age, many changes occur in the body. One of the visual changes is the development of a cataract, which is a “clouding over” of the natural lens of the eye. The lens is located just behind the colored part of the eye, the iris. Cataracts cause vision to become hazy and distorted, and may become more sensitive to bright lights. Cataracts also cause glare with sunlight and headlights and cause driving to become unsafe. Ninety-five percent of individuals sixty-five and over will have some degree cataract development.
A cataract results from chemical activity in the lens that slows down significantly due to aging. However, aging is not the only cause of cataracts. Diabetes, trauma, ultraviolet light, genetics and certain medications may also lead to cataract formation.
The only treatment for cataracts is surgical removal. After decades of refined technique, cataract surgery is now a quick and effective procedure, restoring vision more in than ninety-five percent of individuals. Once the cataract is removed, an artificial lens, called an “IOL or implant,” is normally placed in the same location of the cataract. With cataracts, you may not realize what you are missing. Dr. Butryn specializes in no-needle, no-stitch cataract surgery which is performed on an outpatient basis and generally takes 5-10 minutes. We offer the ReSTOR multifocal and Crystalens AO accommodating intraocular lenses, which help to improve both distance and near vision without glasses. For those with astigmatism, the AcrySof Toric IQ intraocular lens and surgical Astigmatism Management help to improve distance vision without glasses. Be sure to ask us about these revolutionary new options in cataract surgery.
While everyone heals differently, most patients report significant improvement in their vision by the following morning and most patients return to their normal work and activities within a day or two. Once removed, cataracts will not grow back and the results of surgery are permanent, giving patients a lifetime of better vision.
Recent Advancements in Cataract Surgery… No needles, no blades, no drops? No problem.
I am continually amazed with new technology and how it changes our lives. Innovation has certainly not spared the field of health care and especially not cataract surgery. Two noteworthy recent developments in cataract surgery which have made a big impact on outcomes and convenience for my patients are the Catalys Femtosecond laser and TriMoxi infusions. The Catalys femtosecond laser can now be utilized to complete several important steps in the surgical process which in the past were preformed manually by the operating surgeon. The Catalys laser also provides a completely new function of softening the cataract prior to its removal.
With the use of a microscope, traditional cataract surgery involves making two small corneal incisions with sharp surgical blades followed by the use of a needle to penetrate and open the cataract. Finally, delicate forceps are used to create a circular opening into the cataract to allow for its removal. When treating astigmatism, a diamond blade, set by hand to specific depth, is used to create one or two arced corneal incisions. As you might expect, each of these steps require a great deal of surgical skill and, if not performed with the precise accuracy, could lead to an undesired outcome for the patient. All of these steps can now be performed with the ease and accuracy of the Catalys Precision Laser System, which combines a femtosecond laser and integrated 3D Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) image-guidance system. This allows the surgeon to program a treatment plan and create precise laser openings in the lens and cornea without the use of needles or blades. Another feature of the Catalys laser, which results in added benefit over traditional surgery is softening of the cataract, which is especially helpful with mature or dense cataracts and allowing for a more gentle removal.
The other big change in cataract surgery, which to me is just as exciting as the femtosecond laser is TriMoxi infusion. This means no longer needing to instill antibiotic and steroid drops 4 times a day for 3-4 weeks after surgery as a means to prevent infection and inflammation. By infusing just a small amount of TriMoxi, a compounded antibiotic/steroid solution, behind the new lens at the end of the surgical case patients can avoid the need for eye drops. We no longer have to worry about our patients missing or forgetting eye drops and the risk of serious infection it may bring. TriMoxi infusion during surgery is not only more convenient and more reliable than conventional eye drop treatment after cataract surgery it is less expensive.
Don Lewis, owner and founder of Crystal River Corporation in Glen Arbor recent had Catalys laser/TriMoxi cataract surgery. “Everything about the procedure was thoroughly explained and reviewed. The actual surgery was a comfortable as one could possibly imagine. Absolutely no pain or discomfort before, during or after. It’s been such an enjoyable experience and I would encourage anyone considering to not worry or hesitate” Like Don Lewis, all of us at NVEC are excited how this revolutionary new technology has changed cataract surgery and the positive influence we have seen in our patients.