Q: My vision has been getting blurry, and I have difficulty driving at night due to glare. I was told that I have cataracts. Can cataracts be removed with a laser? Will I need glasses after cataract surgery?
A: The crystalline lenses in our eyes remain clear so that light may focus on the retina in the back of the eye and allow us to see clearly. As we age, the crystalline lens become increasingly opaque or cloudy. Eventually, a cataract develops and vision may become blurry. Changes in spectacle prescriptions may not provide clear vision anymore. Driving at night may become extremely difficult as the cataract may cause light scatter and glare disability from streetlights and on-coming headlights. Nearly everyone will develop visually significant cataracts in their lifetime. If your eye doctor has diagnosed you with visually significant cataracts, a referral to an eye surgeon for treatment should occur.
Treatment of cataracts is with surgical removal and intraocular lens replacement. Cataract surgery is the most common out-patient surgical procedure performed in this country. At the initial consultation, your eye surgeon will carefully evaluate the cataract and thoroughly check your eyes for signs of other eye conditions. The eye surgeon should discuss different kinds of lens implants and which type may be best suited for your lifestyle. Monofocal, or single focus lenses, will provide clear vision at one distance. Premium lens implants include Multifocal lenses, Accommodating lenses, and Toric lenses. Multifocal lenses and Accommodating lenses will correct vision at distance and near; therefore, your dependence on glasses will be reduced. A Toric lens implant will correct astigmatism, which is an irregularly shaped cornea (front surface of eye). The eye surgeon will determine if you are a good candidate for these special lens implants.