Ophthalmologist in Laguna Hills summarizes everything you need to know about cataract surgery
Vision is our most highly developed sense. When we see clearly, we take it for granted. Cataracts, however, gradually deteriorate that connection to the world around us. This common vision problem interferes with independence, and people with the condition may withdraw socially. If you are one of the 24.5 million individuals in this country who have cataracts, Dr. George Salib urges you to get the care you deserve at Orange County Eye Institute in Laguna Hills. The following information is not everything you need to know about cataract surgery, but it will get you on the right path.
How cataracts form
The front portion of the eye has a lens which bends incoming light rays, so they focus on the retina at the back of the eye. The retina records the images and sends them to the brain. The lens is comprised primarily of water with precisely arranged proteins. In a healthy eye, the lens is clear, allowing light to pass through uninhibited. Sometimes, (usually related to aging, smoking, or diabetes) proteins bind together, clouding an area of the lens. Over time, more protein molecules join the clump, and the visual obstruction grows larger.
Impact on vision is two-fold. First, the cataract limits how much light makes it way to the retina. Most cataracts start small and develop slowly, so the gradual blurring of images may not be identified for years. Second, over time the condition gives the once-clear lens a brownish tint. The dulling effect makes it more difficult to read or perform fine tasks. Advanced tinting of the lens distorts color perception.
Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) that remains clear, indefinitely.
Cataract surgery in Laguna Hills: Everything you need to know
Cataract surgery is an area of specialization for Dr. Salib. He has worked with countless patients to determine their best course of treatment. Here are some of the questions he commonly encounters during consultations:
- Do I really need surgery?
The condition itself is not life-threatening. Dr. Salib provides an accurate diagnosis based on symptoms, physical examination, and evaluation using state of the art equipment. With this comprehensive approach, he can clinically determine the extent of the cataract’s progression.
However, impact on quality of life is subjective. Some patients are satisfied that they can drive safely, work productively, and enjoy pastimes. They may choose to postpone surgery and simply continue annual checkups with Dr. Salib. It is important to bear in mind, however, that risks from any surgery increase with age and other health complications. Most people are eager to start enjoying clear vision as soon as possible.
- Does the type of lens make a difference?
Lens choice is a significant factor in the patient’s satisfaction with treatment. Dr. Salib uses the best IOL lenses from reputable brands such as Restor and Crystalens – monofocal for fixed focus; and multifocal, which strikes an optimal balance for near, middle, and distance vision. Accommodating lenses respond to ciliary muscles in the eye, enabling vision to shift from middle to far (some patients still need reading glasses).
- What is the procedure?
In the past, a scalpel was used to make tiny incisions at the edge of the cornea or front covering of the eye. Then, through these small cuts, the affected lens was broken up and removed with special instruments, and the IOL carefully inserted.
Dr. Salib is one of only a small percentage of ophthalmologists trained in laser-assisted cataract surgery. With the bladeless LensSx system he achieves laser precision in creating the incisions and fragmenting the lens, and placement of the IOL is computer guided. With this technique, incisions are self-sealing, so sutures are not needed. The success/satisfaction rate is very high, and risk of complications is low.
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- How long until I can see clearly?
Improvement in vision is immediate, since the clouded natural lens is replaced with a crystal clear IOL. However, the doctor may ask you to keep the eye covered with a dressing or shield for a few days for protection while the cornea recovers.
Everyone heals differently, so it is impossible to determine at the outset exactly what your post-procedure prescription will be. In many cases, no further vision correction is needed. Depending largely on lens choice, patients may require eyeglasses. Regardless, colors are vibrant, night vision is improved (no hazing around lights), and natural vision without eyeglass correction is better.
- Is cataract surgery covered by health insurance?
Insurance plans vary greatly. Medicare and private insurers usually cover at least a portion of the expense. Our administrative team is happy to obtain, on your behalf, an estimate from your insurer, and to discuss financing options for out of pocket costs.
Cataract surgery can help you see the world in a better light. Call The Orange County Eye Institute at (949) 441-5444 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Salib.
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