When many hear the phrase “eye surgery,” they cringe. The very thought of having to undergo a surgical procedure on an area as delicate and intricate as the eye fills most people with dread. However, despite the fear that it so often inspires, even a complicated form of eye surgery, like intraocular lens replacement to treat cataracts, can be relatively quick and painless.
According to statistics compiled by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more than half of all Americans will have developed cataracts by the time they reach the age of 80. While cataracts usually begin as only a minor inconvenience, a clouding or darkening of the lens of the eye that can be almost undetectable, over time they can worsen to the point where they obscure vision completely. Once cataracts reach the point where vision is severely impacted, treatment usually involves the replacement of the clouded lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) made of plastic, acrylic or silicone.
In most cataract surgeries, the surgeon will make a small incision on the side of your cornea and a device that sends out ultrasound vibrations will then be inserted into the eye to break the lens into small pieces. The fragments are then removed by suction through the small cut in the eye and the intraocular lens inserted. At Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, however, Dr. William Segal performs the procedure with the newest, most advanced technology available, Alcon’s new LenSx® laser. This bladeless, computer-controlled laser allows providers to plan and perform cataract surgery to exacting, individualized specifications not attainable with other surgical methods.
Despite the high degree of precision this kind of surgery requires, it can usually be performed as an outpatient procedure in an operating room in less than an hour. Although patients are generally given a minor sedative and local anesthesia, they remain awake for the actual procedure and do not require hospitalization. A wide variety of intraocular lenses are available to treat all sorts of vision deficits and nearly 98% of all cataract surgeries are completed each year without serious complications. While recovering, most patients experience nothing more serious than slight tearing, light sensitivity, or mild irritation that can be treated with an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). You may also have mild tearing and be slightly sensitive to light for a short time following cataract surgery. Patients can return to regular activity (with the exception of heavy exertion) the same day.
If you have questions about diseases of the eye, or would like to schedule an appointment for an eye exam, please contact Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons today to make an appointment. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips for healthy eyes.