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What is a cataract? Answers to FAQs about this condition, including treatment with surgery, in Laguna Hills, CA

We at Orange County Eye Institute are privileged that you are entrusting the health of your eyes to us. We remain committed to our tradition of personalized, high-quality patient care, advanced technology, and excellent results. As an ophthalmic surgeon, Dr. George Salib specializes in cataract surgery, including advanced techniques. Below, he provides a glimpse into how we may safely and successfully restore vision that is distorted, blurry, dull or otherwise impaired at our institute in Laguna Hills, CA.

What are cataracts? 

A cataract is a natural clouding of the lens that commonly occurs among patients who are middle-aged and older. Cataracts often develop slowly and cause a gradual decline in vision that cannot be corrected with glasses. The proteins that are present in the eye’s lens degrade or change over time, resulting in characteristic “cloudiness” and other symptoms such as:

  • Blurred vision at distance and/or near
  • Increasing near-sightedness
  • Looks like you are seeing through a dirty windshield
  • Elevated sensitivity to lights
  • Nyctalopia, or problems seeing at night or in poorly lit areas
  • Double vision
  • Problems distinguishing colors clearly

What causes cataracts?

 Aside from aging, factors that may put you at heightened risk of developing a cataract include:

  • Genetic predisposition: biological parents or siblings developed cataracts
  • Comorbidities, such as poor blood sugar control and diabetes
  • Past injuries,trauma to the eye, and/or eye surgeries
  • Smoking and use of tobacco products
  • Chronic, unprotected exposure of the eyes to Ultraviolet light
  • Steroid usage

When should I visit the doctor about my eyes?

We encourage you to contact us as soon as you notice changes to your eyes. We can detect problems early into the process – before they interfere with your ability to drive at night, or to do the things that you love, such as reading or sports. We can further confirm if you have cataracts with a range of diagnostic tests that precisely pinpoint ocular abnormalities and assess visual clarity and sharpness. Additionally, we like to get our patients in the healthy habit of routine, consistent exams.

Will I need cataract surgery??

Treatment options depend on several factors, including the nature of your visual impairment and the impact cataracts may be having on your life. At your consultation, you will meet with Dr. Salib and members of his team who will be able to answer your questions and ensure that you are comfortable with your vision correction plan. When you are first diagnosed with cataracts, they may not be advanced enough to warrant cataract surgery right away. We may take a wait and see approach before removing the cataract if  they are causing minimal disruption to your life. Dr. Salib may suggest measurements for new glasses with an optometrist, as this seemingly simple change can make a world of difference. When your cataracts begin to affect your vision greatly enough that it is interfering with your life, Dr. Salib will likely recommend cataract surgery.Dr. Salib will discuss how the procedure is performed  to remove the aged lens and replace it with an artificial lens. 

What happens before cataract surgery?

Before having cataract surgery, you will also undergo a series of preoperative measurements and diagnostic tests. The data gathered will ensure that your procedure is personalized and precision-based. Dr. Salib will also perform a comprehensive eye exam to examine the overall health of your eyes and identify any potential risk factors. Dr. Salib will then discuss the stage of your cataracts and the various options available to you for cataract surgery. 

What are my intraocular lens (IOL) options?

Our precise preoperative measurements and modern intraocular lens (IOL) implants have given us more options than ever before to achieve your vision goals. Many of our patients choose lens implants that reduce their dependence on glasses. 

Monofocal: Standard lenses used for cataract surgery are monofocal. Monofocal lenses will provide sharp vision at one range of vision, either near, distance or intermediate. If a standard monofocal IOL is chosen, your vision will be clear at one focus range, but you will likely still have to wear glasses to see for some activities.

Multifocal and Extended Depth of Focus: Multifocal and EDOF lenses are considered premium IOLs that are not fully covered by insurances. These IOLs allow for a broader range of vision to be achieved. You may choose to have your IOL more oriented toward intermediate or computer range vision, or more focused on reading vision. All provide excellent distance vision and can correct astigmatism where needed. These premium IOLs often significantly reduce your need for glasses or contact lenses.

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(949) 441-5444

Monovision: Monovision is a particular type of lens surgery where we correct one eye for reading and the other eye for distance vision using monofocal IOLs. This allows you to have both good distance and close-up vision as each eye covers its respective visual range. Because this option is not suitable for everyone, we recommend a trial with contact lenses first to mimic the results. This will allow you to determine whether monovision is an option that could work for your lifestyle.

What can I expect during cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that typically takes less than thirty minutes to complete. If you have cataracts in both eyes, Dr. Salib will operate on one eye first and then the second eye about one month after your first eye has healed. On the day of surgery, you will be given intravenous (IV) anesthesia as well as numbing eye drops to ensure your comfort. Dr. Salib will create a small opening at the front of the eye known as the cornea. Then, he will break up your natural lens where the cataract is and remove it. After, he will carefully insert the new artificial lens in its place, ensuring its proper placement and orientation. The small opening on the cornea will heal naturally and you will be able to go home the same day. The procedure is generally painless and most people notice an improvement in their vision in the first few days after cataract surgery. Depending on the lens chosen, you may still need to wear glasses after the operation.

Dr. Salib offers the most advanced technology available, including femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS), Optiwave Refractive Analysis (ORA), and modern implants that restore vision precisely, safely, and fit in seamlessly with our patients’ active lifestyles. He has earned a reputation for personal attention and successful outcomes, as well as the trust of our patients, referring doctors, their families, and friends.

 If you are concerned about changes to your eyes and sight, do not wait to reach out to us. Schedule your appointment today.


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George Salib , MD, MS

Dr. George Salib is a leading cataract specialist and top ophthalmic surgeon in California.

An alumnus of UCLA, Georgetown University, and University of Wisconsin Medical School, he received ophthalmology training at King-Drew Medical Center, a residency program affiliated with UCLA, and followed a fellowship in advanced surgical techniques at Tulane University, New Orleans.

Besides cataract treatments, Dr. Salib is also experienced in multifocal lenses, laser eye treatments, Glaucoma, corneal transplants, macular degeneration, Comprehensive eye care, Laser assisted cataract surgery, Dry eye and pterygium surgery. He is passionate about educating others on eye health and is committed to helping patients maximize their vision and living their lives to the fullest.

Connect with George Salib , MD, MS on Linkedin

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