A cataract is a clouding of the clear natural lens of the eye. The lens is the part of the eye that acts as a window behind the iris and the pupil. Unfortunately, occurs naturally as we age and tends to impact people over the age of 40. Although age is the most common reason for cataracts, occasionally children are born with congenital cataracts and young adults can develop debilitating visual impairment from a cataract.
There are actually two reasons that a cataract forms: clumping of protein or a discoloration. The most common reason is a build-up of protein. The lens is primarily composed of water and protein so in this case, the protein starts to clump and increases in size. It can be small cataracts or full blown cataracts where the protein clumps actually cover the entire lens. In either case, surgery may be required. The discoloration, happens overtime by turning the lens to a yellow and/or brownish color. This brown tint to the lens becomes more prominent and makes it difficult to read and identify colors like blues, purples and black.
Many patients with cataracts don’t notice that their vision has changed because it grows very slow over time. Generally, visual problems occur mostly as blurred vision in one or both eyes. Under certain conditions, your vision may be worse than others from your cataract. You may notice a "starburst effect", halo around headlights at nighttime, glare from lights or the sun making it harder for you to see. Color vision, as well, can be severely affected by your developing cataract. Colors are dull and not as bright as they once were.
You are ready for cataract surgery, only, when it is interfering with your lifestyle. This is different for different individuals. An elderly nursing home patient, may not be as bothered by the same degree of a cataract as an active, younger person. Most ophthalmologists, today, no longer use the term "ripe" when determining when cataract surgery is appropriate. Instead, the surgery is generally indicated when your vision is interfering with your lifestyle and, therefore, the enjoyment of your life.
If you are concerned you may have a cataract, please click here to schedule a cataract evaluation at All Saints Eye Center. The evaluation involves a thorough eye exam by Naples cataract surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Zimm, M.D. Dr. Zimm offers appointments for cataracts in Naples and Fort Myers, FL.
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure but you will not be allowed to drive yourself home after. You will likely be able to drive to your post-operative appointment the next day. The surgery itself takes about 20 to 30 minutes but you will be in the Doctors Outpatient Surgery Center for several hours. During the surgery, top Naples cataract surgeon, Dr. Zimm, will remove the cloudy lens from your eye and replace it with an intraocular lens implant (iol). There are multiple types of cataract surgery available at All Saints Eye Center: traditional, laser, and laser with premium iols.
The recovery period for cataract surgery is relatively short for most people. Many people feel ready to return to work or even drive a car within a couple of days after surgery. Often patients are prescribed eye drops to help the healing process and it is important to continue to see Dr. Zimm at the Fort Myers or Naples cataract offices according to the instructions provided.