Aging-related cataracts affect virtually everyone at some point. In fact,
by age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have
had cataract surgery.
“As we age, the lens that focuses light rays onto the back of the
eye starts to cloud, causing images to be blurred, dark and distorted.
This clouding is called a cataract,” ophthalmologist
Brian Nichols, MD, PhD, with Boulder Eye Surgeons explained to more than 200 audience members
viewing a free BCH health lecture online or in-person.
"When a cataract makes it significantly hard to see and begins to
interfere with quality of life, you can undergo cataract surgery. During
the procedure, we remove and replace the cloudy lens with an artificial
intraocular lens implant, or IOL,” he said.
Watch Dr. Nichols' lecture on "Advances in Cataract Surgery."
Cataracts usually develop slowly. New glasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare
sunglasses or magnifying lenses can help at first. Symptoms include the
- Blurry vision
- Colors that seem faded
- Glare - headlights, lamps or sunlight may seem too bright. You may also
see a halo around lights.
- Not being able to see well at night
- Double vision
- Frequent prescription changes in your eye wear
Cataract Surgery Basics
Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures performed in the
U.S. It also is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery.
Dr. Nichols said, “Greater than 95 percent of people who have cataract
surgery experience better vision afterwards. The surgery is quick, often
taking less than 20 minutes, usually painless, performed without admission
to the hospital and does not require general anesthesia."
Most modern cataract procedures involve the use of phacoemulsification
— a high-frequency ultrasound device that disintegrates the cloudy
lens into small pieces.
“The pieces are then gently removed from the eye with suction through
tiny micro incisions,” Dr. Nichols explained. “After all pieces
of the cloudy lens have been removed, we insert the artifcial IOL.”
Laser Cataract Surgery Can Treat Both Cataracts and Other Vision Problems
Dr. Nichols spent time describing laser cataract surgery — one of
the latest options for treating cataracts. It replaces the manual use
of blades during cataract surgery with the precision, accuracy and safety
of a laser.
"Using a computerized high-resolution scanning system, we’re
able to customize the procedure to your eye’s unique characteristics.
This allows for the removal of a cataract with greater precision, predictability
and safety than in traditional cataract surgery," Dr. Nichols explained.
"With more accurate incision creation, cataract disassembly and IOL
positioning, the laser offers the potential for reduced inflammation and
recovery time, as well as increased accuracy of visual correction."
Optimized Cataract Removal Can Potentially Eliminate the Need for Glasses
Laser cataract surgery, when combined with advanced IOLs, can address cataracts
in addition to other vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness,
astigmatism or presbyopia (age-related vision loss).
Dr. Nichols added, "By customizing the surgery to your eye's anatomy
and implanting an advanced IOL, laser cataract surgery can result in improved
postoperative vision and offers the potential for the reduction of eyeglass
video to learn more about laser cataract surgery.
View PowerPoint slides from the lecture on “Advances in Cataract Surgery.”
Want to receive notification of special events and lectures?
Sign up to receive email notifications