Questions and misconceptions about cataracts abound. Below I’ve answered some of the most common questions and misconceptions about cataracts and cataract surgery.
Q. What is a cataract?
A. A cataract is what we call the natural human lens when it gets cloudy. Like a camera, the eye uses a lens system to focus light. When the lens gets cloudy it is like getting a smudge on the lens of a camera. No matter how much you try to focus the camera the image remains cloudy. Likewise, when you develop a cloudy lens in the eye, at some point a change in glasses won’t be able to overcome the cloudiness.
Q. Why do we get cataracts?
A. Age is the number one reason. As we get older the lens in the eye very slowly gets cloudy to the point that it eventually affects our vision. The vision through a cataract is generally described as cloudy or fuzzy and often patients complain of glare. Daily activities such as night driving may become more difficult. Other risk factors for cataracts include smoking, trauma, and diabetes.
Q. When do I need cataract surgery?
A. Cataract surgery is generally indicated when a person, even with glasses, is bothered by their vision to the point they are having trouble with activities of daily living such as watching TV, driving at night, or pursuing crafts and hobbies.
Q. Is there anything I can do prevent cataracts?
A. The short answer is no. But you can slow them down and potentially avoid or delay the need for surgery by not smoking, wearing sunglasses, and controlling your blood sugar if you are diabetic.
Q. Will I need glasses after surgery?
A. It depends. Today we have the ability to choose from a variety of lens implants that can limit or almost eliminate the need for glasses.
Q. Cataracts are removed with a laser, right?
A. Not exactly. Recently some lasers have been released and heavily marketed that perform some of the steps in cataract surgery. Ultimately, all techniques require an incision and removal of the cataract with ultrasound. The laser doesn’t help you see better and the complication rate are higher than with purely ultrasound techniques. Add to this $1000 or more per eye to the patient’s out of pocket costs and the laser looks like a raw deal.
If you are going to pay more, we recommend getting a better replacement lens implant. Special lenses that correct astigmatism or help you see at distance and near like Crystalens are a better use of your dollar. The Eye Clinic of Florida is one of the most experienced Crystalens centers in the country. We also have the lowest prices in Florida. Call 813.779.3338 to learn more or make an appointment.
A Tampa Tribune reader’s poll has ranked him as Pasco’s Best Eye Surgeon for the last 3 years.
PatientsChoice.org has recognized him as one of America’s Most Compassionate Doctors for 9 years in a row (2009-2017). He again won the Patient’s Choice Award for the 9th year in row this year. Both awards are given to less than 3% of doctors and based on patient voting. Dr. Mahootchi was in the top 1% in 2017.