A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear, transparent lens of the eye. A cataract is not a tumor or growth of new tissue over or in the eye; rather, it is a fogging and loss of clarity of the lens itself. With cataract progression, the lens becomes increasingly cloudy, making it more and more difficult for light to be focused onto the retina. This leads to problems with blurred vision, glare with bright lights, halos around bright lights and difficulty with nighttime vision (particularly driving at night). It can impact your quality of life making it more difficult to drive, or simply enjoy a movie or read a book.

Cataract surgeons at UofL Health – Eye Institute are specialized in surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a plastic implant. Cataract extraction is one of the most common operations performed in the United States. Over 90% of people who have the surgery enjoy an improvement in their vision and quality of life.

When facing cataract surgery, every patient is unique and requires a physician who is specially trained to address the best surgical approach for you and your lifestyle. At UofL Health – Eye Institute, you can be assured our surgeons are proficient in the latest surgical technologies and are dedicated to staying at the forefront of the advancing field.

Diseases and Conditions

What Causes Cataracts?

No single cause has been identified, but links between cataract development and age, ultraviolet light exposure, and diabetes, among other things, have been identified. Researchers believe there could be several causes of cataracts, including smoking, diabetes and excessive exposure to sunlight.

UofL Health – Eye Institute treats multiple types of cataracts, including:

  • Age-related cataracts: Develop with time
  • Congenital cataracts: Present at birth or develop in early childhood, usually in both eyes
  • Secondary cataracts: Develop in people with medical conditions, such as diabetes or those who use steroids
  • Traumatic cataracts: Develop as a result of an eye injury

Treatments and Services

When cataracts interfere with daily activities and vision with glasses is no longer useful, surgery is the most effective treatment. The surgery consists of replacing the cloudy lens with a plastic lens implant that is intended to last for the rest of the patient’s life. This implant can correct for distance, intermediate or near vision or for multiple ranges at once. The surgeons at UofL Health – Eye Institute are skilled at implanting a variety of intraocular lenses that include advanced lenses for premium vision correction (to correct astigmatism and presbyopia). We firmly believe in the value of cataract surgery as an opportunity to pursue exceptional vision correction that best suits your lifestyle and daily needs.

Traditional Cataract Surgery – Phacoemulsification

We remove almost all cataracts with a technique called phacoemulsification. In phacoemulsification, a tiny vibrating ultrasonic instrument is passed through a very small incision (2.5-3 mm) into the eye and then into the cataract. This instrument creates high-energy sound waves that break the cataract into tiny particles. Simultaneously, these particles are gently vacuumed out of the eye. Phacoemulsification permits us to take the cataract out through a small incision. This allows faster healing after surgery, stronger wound healing, and a reduction in the amount of astigmatism that is present after surgery.

Femtosecond Laser-assisted Cataract Surgery

The most recent breakthrough in technology for cataract surgery is the arrival of laser-assisted cataract surgery (femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery). In this surgery, we use a laser for certain steps of traditional cataract surgery. A near-infrared beam of light allows light to be focused to a very small size. This can be used to make corneal incisions, create the opening in the shell that surrounds the lens, and soften and fragment the lens into smaller pieces before removal with the ultrasonic handpiece. This technology is very safe and successful for patients. Some of our surgeons offer laser-assisted cataract surgery, as well as standard cataract surgery. Prior to surgery, you and your UofL Physicians – Eye Specialists surgeon will review and discuss these surgical options to determine the best choice for you.

Cataract Consultation

Your cataract consultation at UofL Physicians – Eye Specialists will include testing to determine whether your cataract is affecting your vision enough to warrant surgery, as well as additional tests for preoperative planning. We firmly believe in the value of cataract surgery as an opportunity to pursue exceptional vision correction that best suits your lifestyle and daily needs. At your consultation appointment, you will have the opportunity to discuss your options and goals for surgery with your surgeon and have any questions answered. Our surgeons operate in a variety of surgery centers in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

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