Am I A Candidate For Cataract Surgery?
Even if you're not yet experiencing visual impairment, your eye doctor may mention during a routine eye exam that you have signs of early cataract development. Although your eye doctor will tell when you first begin to develop cataracts, you will generally be the first person to notice the changes in your vision. Clouding of the lens may start to develop at any age, but it is less common before the age of 50. However, the majority of people will not begin to have symptoms from their cataracts until many years after they begin to develop. Cataracts can be safely monitored by your eye care professional without treatment until you begin to notice changes in your vision that affect your everyday lifestyle. An example of such changes includes decreased vision and glare symptoms from oncoming headlights when driving at night. Once the cataract development becomes advanced enough to hinder your daily activities, cataract removal surgery is recommended for most individuals.
Who Is Not A Good Candidate For Cataract Removal Surgery?
If you have other eye diseases unrelated to cataracts that limit your vision, Dr. Feinerman might not recommend cataract surgery. For example, sometimes people have retinal scarring from macular degeneration, which reduces visual potential. Thus, in this case cataract surgery may not improve vision. On the other hand, a dense cataract may make it difficult for your ophthalmologist to see the retina at the back of the eye. In this case, it may be appropriate to remove the cataract so that further retinal or optic nerve evaluation and treatment can occur. Dr. Feinerman will help you decide what your best option is during the pre-surgical examination.
What If I've Already Had Another Eye Surgery Procedure, Such As LASIK?
Prior refractive surgery such as LASIK is not necessarily a contraindication to cataract surgery.
The mode of cataract removal surgery can also be tailored to individuals based on their coexisting medical problems. Cataract surgery is generally performed with minimal sedation and typically takes less than 30 minutes. Therefore the eye surgery does not put significant strain on the heart or the lungs.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Cataract Surgery?
While cataract surgery is one of the safest procedures available and has a high rate of success, rare complications can arise as with any surgical procedure. Dr. Feinerman will discuss all potential complications of the surgical procedures that are unique to your individual situation prior to having you sign a consent form.
The most common complications arising after cataract removal surgery are chronic inflammation, changes in eye pressure, infection, or retinal swelling at the back of the eye (cystoid macular edema), or retinal detachment. If the delicate bag the lens sits in is injured, the artificial lens may need to be positioned in a different location. In some cases, the intraocular lens moves or does not function properly and may need to be repositioned, exchanged, or removed in a second eye surgery procedure.
All of these complications are rare but can lead to significant visual loss; thus, it's important to attend all follow-up appointments with Dr. Feinerman after your eye surgery.
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