Your eye is actually like a camera. Light rays pass through the lens of the eye and are focused onto the retina, which is like the film in the camera.
As we age, the natural lens of our eye becomes cloudy, which prevents the light rays from focusing clearly on the back of our eye. When the natural lens becomes less transparent or cloudy, it is referred to as a cataract. Images are no longer clear and sharp. This visual loss can be mild or quite severe. Eyeglasses or contact lenses can correct a cataract in the early stages, but cannot correct vision once the majority of the lens loses transparency.
Cataracts can cause difficulty with driving or reading, causing haziness and glare with sunlight or halos around lights at night. A cataract may develop in only one eye and can decrease the ability to judge distances. Colors may have less intensity and images may have a yellowish cast. Frequent changes in eyeglasses may occur or even double vision.
The most common cause of cataracts is the aging process, although younger people can develop cataracts. Other causes of cataracts include the use of steroids, injuries, diabetes, inflammation, or chronic exposure to ultraviolet light.
Here are some important points about cataracts:
- All people will develop cataracts if they live long enough.
- Cataracts are not cancerous or contagious.
- Reading, watching T.V., or eye strain do not cause cataracts.
- A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye, not a growth or film on the surface of the eye.
- Cataract formation occurs differently in each person and also in each eye.
- When a cataract interferes with your normal lifestyle, it is time to consider removing it.
Although eye drops, nutritional supplements, diets or exercises have been tried to improve the blurred vision caused by a cataract, the only proven cure is to surgically remove the cataract.
With the advent of less invasive surgical techniques and state-of-the-art surgical instrumentation, contemporary cataract surgery has become an easier and painless procedure, resulting in excellent vision for the patient with minimum recovery time. The surgery is done in an outpatient surgical facility and usually requires no stitches. Most of our Palm Beach cataract surgery patients are given topical anesthetic drops and feel relatively comfortable during the operation and into the post-op period. The actual operation usually takes less than 15 minutes. Normal activities can be resumed within a day or two of the procedure.
Cataract surgery is one of the most successful operations performed in the United States, and more than one million patients will have the surgery annually.
Dr. Katzen is always looking for ways to improve the safety and efficacy of his procedures. One way that may enhance the results of cataract removal surgery is to incorporate a femtosecond laser, which replaces handheld instruments for several critical steps of the procedure. Many cataract surgeons, including Dr. Katzen, feel that lasers may enhance the cataract removal process and lead to better surgical outcomes. Traditional cataract removal performed by Dr. Katzen is over 99 percent safe and effective. Using a laser may heighten the safety and precision of treatment.
The steps of laser cataract surgery are almost identical to those of traditional surgery, except that a femtosecond laser is used during several key portions of the operation.
First, the femtosecond laser is used to create the initial incision in the cornea, the surface of the eye, to access the capsule that holds the lens. The incision is carefully planned with a three-dimensional image of the eye (made from optical coherence tomography technology); then made expertly with the laser. The goal is for the incision to seal itself after surgery to reduce the risk of infection
Then, the femtosecond lens creates an opening in the front portion of the lens capsule through which the cataract can be removed. This part of the procedure, called the capsulotomy, is important for both the proper removal of the cataract and subsequent positioning of the IOL (Intraocular lens). If the IOL is incorrectly placed, it affects the visual outcomes of cataract surgery.
Finally, the femtosecond laser gently softens and fragments the cataract for easy removal. Using laser energy instead of ultrasound energy reduces the risk of overheating the eye and possibly burning the incision. It is also helpful for preserving the capsule so it can hold the IOL firmly in place.
Dr. Katzen would be happy to discuss the steps of laser cataract surgery with you in more detail during a personal consultation. He can explain the potential advantages of using a laser to perform the procedure, and he can advise whether the traditional or laser approach is more suitable for your unique vision correction needs.
Dr. Katzen also uses the ORA (Optiwave Refractive Analysis) system during cataract surgery to customize treatment. This technology is designed to help calculate the appropriate intraocular lens implant for each individual patient. Selecting the right IOL is critical to achieve the best possible vision without the need for prescription glasses. When Dr. Katzen uses the ORA system, patients can be confident that they are receiving the best possible vision after cataract surgery.
The ORA system takes intraoperative measurements of the eye after the clouded natural lens has been removed and before the intraocular lens has been inserted. It does not touch the eye, but it takes the measurements while the eye focuses on a special light. These measurements are then plugged into a mathematical formula to help determine the proper intraocular lens. This improves the precision of the selection of the best IOL to give you better vision without wearing prescription lenses.
For more information about the ORA machine, please contact Dr. Katzen today.
The best way for a patient to regain natural vision after cataract surgery is to permanently place a lens implant or IOL (see image on right) inside the eye. This lens implant will replace the focusing power of the natural lens and make peripheral vision and image size normal again. The lens implant is made of plastic, acrylic, or silicone and is placed in the same position as the original lens of the eye. Because the lens is inside the eye, there is no surface discomfort. This is currently the most practical way for a patient’s vision to be restored after cataract surgery.
Katzen Eye Care & Laser Center can now give our cataract surgery patients the opportunity to choose from state-of-the art lifestyle intraocular lenses designed to function like a bifocal (simultaneously providing vision for both reading and distance), correct astigmatism or improve night vision. These implants can reduce or eliminate the reading or distance glasses that patients often need after cataract surgery. Our cataract surgery patients are offered this exciting option during their pre-op evaluation. Patient lifestyles are carefully evaluated in order to choose the best lens implant that will fit the visual needs of each patient.
To learn more about lifestyle lens implants and cataract surgery, contact our office today at 561-736-2020.
Cataract surgery, a form of refractive surgery, has improved and advanced dramatically during the last several decades. In the field of cataract surgery, the Katzen Eye Care & Laser Center is consistently recognized for their experience, innovation and success in providing South Florida residents, including West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Boynton Beach, Wellington, Florida, Lake Worth and Delray Beach cataract surgery patients, with truly exceptional care.
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) - Clear Lens Exchange (CLE)
In those cases where patients are presbyopic (need reading glasses) or are not eligible for LASIK, Refractive Lens Exchange(RLE) or Clear Lens Exchange (CLE) is often the most appropriate surgical alternative.
Traditionally, presbyopia, which happens to all of us as we age, has always meant patients required glasses or contacts for reading. LASIK is unable to permanently treat this condition.
Refractive Lens Exchange(RLE) is mostly for older patients who are Presbyopic (need reading glasses), or have significant farsighted or nearsighted errors and want to permanently correct their distance vision as well as lessen their dependence on reading glasses.
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is similar to cataract surgery. The procedure replaces the natural crystalline lens of the eye with an IntraOcular lens implant that is hidden behind the iris. Refractive Lens Exchange can now provide patients with a clear alternative to reading glasses by using lifestyle lens implants.
- Years of successful surgical history
- Quick recovery time in post-operative period
- Better alternative for thin corneas, dry eyes, or other corneal problems
- The only option for permanently treating high refractive errors or presbyopia
- The only procedure to permanently correct both distance and near vision in each eye, reducing or eliminating the need for reading glasses through the use of lifestyle lens implants
- No possibility of developing a cataract in the future
Why a highly experienced Cataract/LASIK surgeon is essential for RLE
In order for Refractive Lens Exchange to be successful it is absolutely necessary to select a doctor who has both considerable cataract experience as well as extensive corneal based refractive surgery experience. Sometimes a combination of LASIK or refractive surgery may be used with a Refractive Lens Exchange to achieve the sharpest vision.
Because RLE is often not performed by surgeons that only specialize in LASIK or regular cataract removal, refractive lens exchange may never be offered to the patient as an option.
Dr. Lawrence Katzen is highly trained in both areas of cataract and refractive surgery. His experience and surgical skills enable him to" fine tune" the Refractive Lens Exchange procedure to ensure the best visual outcome for patients.
To find out if Refractive Lens Exchange is for you, contact the Katzen Eye Care & Laser Center today to schedule a personal appointment with Dr. Lawrence Katzen or one of his colleagues Dr. Michael Weiskopf, Dr. Elizabeth Oteiza, or Dr. Debra McCracken.