5 important cataract questions, answered

Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process

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This article is sponsored by Focal Point Vision.

Have you ever considered cataract surgery?

Focal Point Vision doctors Dr. James Lehmann and Dr. Kenneth Maverick have insight on cataract surgery, how common and safe it is, how to know when you need cataract surgery, and the process and procedure of having cataract surgery.

Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process, and the United States is expecting a large increase in this cataract removal with the baby boomer population.

Cataracts can cloud your vision, increasing your risks of falls and accidents. Studies have shown people who have had cataract surgery have a significant reduction in accidents associated with poor vision, enjoy a better quality of life, and are less prone to depression and anxiety.

What is a cataract?

"All of us are born with a clear and flexible lens in our eye called the “crystalline lens," said Dr. Maverick. "With aging, this lens becomes cloudy and less flexible, we call it a cataract. Occasional poor near vision and problems with contrast, glare and night vision."

It is responsible for cloudy distance vision.

Why do people get cataracts?

"Aging is the main reason that people develop cataracts," said Dr. Lehmann. "Smoking and exposure to UV light also increase the risk. Lastly, some types of eye surgery, such as repair of a retinal detachment, can hasten the development of a cataract."

Almost everybody will develop cataracts if they live long enough.

What is cataract surgery?

"It is an outpatient procedure that involves the removal of the cataract and insertion of an artificial lens, called an IOL (IntraOcular Lens)," said Dr. Maverick. "This artificial lens is made of biocompatible materials that outlast our life expectancies. We perform cataract surgery in a sterile operating room, with light anesthesia (either anesthesiologist or CNRA) and registered nurses whose goal is to maximize patient comfort and safety." 

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in the United States.

Does it hurt?

"Patients receive eye drops for topical anesthesia with IV sedation and are in a “twilight” state of sedation and relaxation," said Dr. Maverick. "The amount of sedation can be tailored to the patient’s needs, and most people see only lights and colors during the procedure. In the vast majority of patients, there is little or no pain associated with cataract surgery."

New technology and advancements in the cataract procedure process has made cataract surgery safer and more effective than ever. 

How do I know if I need cataract surgery?

"A cataract is considered “ready for surgery” when the patient has problems with common activities, such as reading, driving, or watching television," said Dr. Lehmann. "Normally, this correlates with an inability to read all the lines on the eye chart." 

Some insurers, like Medicare, have rules about the number of lines a patient can’t read before they qualify for cataract surgery.

Focal Point Vision has four options for its patients considering cataract surgery. Its staff and surgeons will discuss and educate these options with patients during a cataract consultation.  

For more information, visit focalpointvision.com or call 210-614-3600. 



About the Author:

Kiersten has been a Digital Content Creator with KSAT12 since 2017. She graduated from Texas State University with an electronic media degree and previously worked for the Spurs Sports & Entertainment.