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 causes of cataract formation: 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. If you are experiencing these cataract symptoms, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a cataract evaluation.
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 treatment when it is interfering with your lifestyle. This point 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 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 or are experiencing what you suspect to be cataract symptoms, 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.
There are three types of cataract surgery that all complete the same task of removing the cloudy lens in your eye and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL). The surgeries vary in tools used by Dr. Zimm. All surgeries will start the same at the Outpatient Surgical Center. You will typically be at the center for one to two hours. After you are brought into the surgical center, a slight sedation is given. Generally, Dr. Zimm uses the no-stitch cataract technique using only drops for topical anesthesia. You leave the surgery center wearing only dark glasses, no patches are needed. Most of the time, you require little or no pain medication.
The traditional form of cataract surgery involves Dr. Zimm cutting a small incision in the cornea using handheld blades in order to access the cloudy lens or cataract. Using a process known as phacoemulsification, Dr. Zimm will insert a small probe in your eye. There are ultrasound waves released to break up the cataract and a vacuum is used to suction the pieces out. After this is removed, Dr. Zimm will insert an IOL to replace the lens. The incision is so small, you will not need any stitches on your eye and the incision should heal naturally.
This is the most basic type of cataract surgery available. Dr. Zimm has performed this procedure thousands of times. Most patients who choose to have traditional cataract surgery in Naples, FL may need to use reading and/or distance glasses due to presbyopia, or the natural aging of the eye which causes vision to deteriorate slowly.
The basic plan of traditional cataract surgery is kept in place where there will be an incision in your eye, the cataract will be removed and a new IOL will be in place of the cloudy lens. However, the use of a laser to perform surgery makes the surgery more precise. The difference in laser is that Dr. Zimm will use a femtosecond laser to break up the cataracts and then use specialized technology to create a surgical plan to correct your vision.
Your cataract procedure is performed at an outpatient ambulatory surgical center. You will typically be at the center normally for 1 1/2 hours. After you are brought into the surgical center, a slight sedation is given. Generally, Dr. Zimm uses the no-stitch cataract technique using only drops for topical anesthesia. You leave the surgery center wearing only dark glasses, no patches are needed. Most of the time, you require little or no pain medication. The procedure itself involves a technique known as phacoemulsification, in which, sound waves are used to break up the cataract itself. An implant is inserted through the same incision.
Dr. Zimm performs cataract surgery at an outpatient ambulatory surgery center so no hospital is needed. In addition, Dr. Zimm is performing cataract surgery in both Naples and Fort Myers, giving you, the patient, more flexibility in scheduling your procedure.
You are seen the following day after cataract surgery. Visual recovery after a cataract operation is usually rapid. However, occasionally swelling can occur which will limit your vision in the immediate postoperative period. Topical eyedrops are used for a few weeks after the surgery and, generally, patients are seen several times after surgery. Complication rates average less than 2% and Dr. Zimm and his staff, will be happy to discuss in detail, these issues in greater depth during your evaluation.
After cataract surgery, sometimes another procedure is needed to clear the haze from your new lens and that is called a YAG Laser Capsulotomy.
Dr. Jeffrey Zimm is one of the top cataract surgeons in the area having removed over 10,000 cataracts in Southwest Florida. All Saints Eye Center is able to perform cataract surgery in Fort Myers and Naples. To make an appointment with Dr. Zimm or to get more information about the benefits of cataract surgery, contact us today by calling (239) 592-5511.