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CataractA cataract causes the eye's lens to become cloudy. As the light rays travel into our eye through the pupil, the rays come through the lens into the retina, which is a layer of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye. When the eye's lens is not clear because it has become cloudy, this is what is called a cataract.  Aging is often the cause of cataracts.  As we age the lens of eye collects a calcification-like build up causing reduced vision. In fact, most people 
over 60 have or will have some degree of cataract.

As a cataract begins to develop, there may be no change in your vision. However, as it progresses, it may begin to interfere with daily activities. This occurs when vision becomes blurry, cloudy or dim, or things you see are not as bright or colorful as they once were, you may be experiencing a cataract in one or both of your eyes.  Some people describe their vision as looking through a dirty car windshield. 

Through a complete eye exam, an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist can determine if you have a cataract.  Together with your doctor, a decision to remove the cataract can be made. In some cases a cataract may not need to be removed right away if your lifestyle isn't significantly affected.  Changing the prescription in your eyeglasses may help to improve vision.  Contrary to the myth that a cataract does not have to be "ripe" to be removed. However, your eye doctor should monitor your vision regularly for changes.

Be sure to schedule your annual eye exam to learn if you may have a cataract (s) developing.

What is Cataract Surgery?

As the cataract progresses or changes a patient's lifestyle, he or she may decide it is time for surgery.  Generally, the Ophthalmologist will remove the cataract (cloudy lens) one eye at a time, with the second cataract being removed within a few weeks. Once the lens is removed, a clear, artificial lens called an intraocular lens or IOL, is implanted. This is done under general anesthesia or a relaxing medication and numbing drops in the eye, depending on the patient's medical condition. The eye heals very quickly, within hours or a few days, vision is restored.  For most, this procedure may cause some discomfort, but is painless. If needed, the doctor will prescribe medication for discomfort.  

See what Riemer Eye Center patients say about their cataracts.

What is an Intraocular or IOL?

An intraocular lens or IOL is a clear, artificial lens that is implanted into the eye during cataract surgery. There are different types of lenses to choose from, and the choice may be based on the type of vision a patient chooses or cost of the lens.

Monofocal Intraocular Lens

Monofocal lenses have one point of focus either near or far distance after surgery. This means there is still a need for glasses to read and for close up or near work or glasses for distance vision. Generally, Medicare covers this type of lens.

Multifocal Intraocular Lens

Unlike monofocal lenses, multifocal lenses allows the eye to focus both symfony lens 3 HR 2near and distance after cataract surgery.This means most people are free of glasses for most tasks.  In June 2016, the FDA approved the Tecnis Symfony Intraocular Lenses, the first and only extended depth of focus lenses. The Symfony lens provides seamless, day to night vision and patients are able to see objects sharply and clearly at near, intermediate and far away distances. In November 2016, Riemer Eye Center implemented this new technology in cataract treatment.

Astigmatism Correcting Lenses

Astigmatism correcting lenses are for patients with existing corneal astigmatism. These lenses usually give patients quality distance vision, however most will still need glasses for reading.