Cataract surgery is another of the comprehensive services offered to patients in the Clarkston and Pontiac area at Wilkinson Eye Center. W. Scott Wilkinson, M.D. performs cataract surgery weekly at TruVista Surgery Center in Troy. Dr. Wilkinson is a Board Certified ophthalmologist with specialty training in refractive and cataract surgery.
We offer the latest technology in intraocular lens implants. In addition to the standard IOL our surgeon offers the ArcySof® Toric IOL for astigmatism.
Over 1.4 million people have cataract surgery every year with less than 5% experiencing even a minor complication. Cataract surgery is delicate surgery performed by our skilled surgeons using a microscope, miniature instruments, and the latest modern technology. You will be in good hands choosing the Wilkinson Eye Center for your cataract surgery.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is when the lens in your eye (like the lens of a camera) becomes cloudy instead of clear. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a growth or a membrane that grows over the eye.
What causes cataracts?
A lot of things, but mostly it’s just an aging process of the lens in your eye. However, we know that excessive sun exposure, injuries to the eye, exposure to steroid medications and certain other medications, diabetes and smoking can contribute to cataracts.
Do I have cataracts?
By having a dilated eye examination your doctor can look directly at the lens in your eye and see if it is clouding to form a cataract. He or she can also make sure that the eye is otherwise healthy by looking behind the cataract at the retina and optic nerve.
What are the symptoms?
In general as the cataract progresses (the lens becomes more cloudy) you will notice that your vision is not as clear as before because the cataract is not letting as much light into your eye. Sometimes people will also notice that they get lots of glare while driving at night or that they have difficulty reading small print without the aid of bright reading light.
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Is surgery needed to treat cataracts?
Not necessarily. In the early stages of a cataract a simple change in glasses may be enough to meet your visual needs. As the cataract progresses you may eventually need cataract surgery to achieve your best possible vision.
Alternative Cataract Treatment Options
Not exactly. In the early stages a new pair of glasses can sometimes refocus the light to overcome the cataract. However, after a certain point only surgery will improve the vision and your ophthalmologist can help you to determine if you are at that point.
Who is a candidate for cataract surgery?
The development of cataracts is almost universal. Statistics show that by the age of 65, over 90 percent of people have a cataract. Half the people between the ages of 75 and 85 have lost some vision due to a cataract. By the age of 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have already had cataract surgery.
The only way to treat cataracts is through surgery to remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL). Most people start to notice the cataract is clouding their vision after their 60th birthday, often when it comes to night vision. Now this becomes a quality-of-life issue.
This procedure is the most successful surgical procedure in the world with over a 95 percent success rate. Yet many patients postpone having surgery to remove the cataract for years beyond when they would have benefitted from the procedure. Who wants to look through a dirty window all day? Who wants to have a decrease in the vibrancy of the colors we see? Cataract surgery is so common that eventually half of the U.S. population will have it. What’s stopping you?
How do I decide when I am ready for cataract surgery?
This is different for everyone and is best determined by having an examination and a personal consultation with your ophthalmologist.
What are the risks of leaving cataracts untreated?
The cataract does not need to be removed until it is bothering you and that is different for every person.
Aren’t there any pills or drops to cure a cataract?
Unfortunately at this time no eye drops, medications or exercises have been proven to fix cataracts.
How will I know I need cataract surgery?
When you come see us at our Pontiac and Clarkston offices for your regular eye exams, we will see your cataract or cataracts on your lenses long before you notice any changes in your vision. The mere presence of a cataract doesn’t require surgery. In many people, their cataracts aren’t blurring their vision, interfering with driving, or affecting their lives.
But cataracts usually continue to make the lens more and more cloudy. In most cases, at some point the patient will have blurred vision that feels as if he or she is looking through a dirty window. Driving at night can become a glare-filled nightmare. Seeing the cards in a bridge game can be a challenge. Finding the puck in a Red Wings game could be virtually impossible (and that’s a crime in itself!).
At this point, it’s time to have cataract surgery with Dr. Wilkinson. This surgery is so successful and creates such crystal-clear vision that there really isn’t any reason to delay. Plus, modern intraocular lenses can actually improve your basic vision at the same time as they are replacing your clouded natural lens.
Is cataract surgery painful?
Some people put off having their cataract-clouded lenses replaced because they fear the surgery will be painful. The reality is that this procedure is painless. You can choose your anesthetic choice. Most patients opt for a mild sedative to help them relax, and then use only anesthetic eye drops during the procedure.
After your surgery, you may have some minor eye discomfort, but this is easily manageable with over-the-counter pain medication.
How is cataract surgery performed?
Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States, with over 3 million procedures every year. These are amazing procedures, taking just a few minutes and making such a big difference in the quality of the patient’s vision.
For these surgeries, we provide you with a light sedative and place numbing eyedrops in the eye with the cataract. Then Dr. Wilkinson makes a small incision in the front surface of the eye with a scalpel or laser. A circular hole is cut in the anterior capsule, the thin membrane that encloses the eye’s natural lens. The cataract-clouded lens is then broken up with ultrasound energy and the pieces are vacuumed away. One the entire lens is removed, it is replaced with an artificial replacement lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL). There are a variety of technologically advanced IOLs to choose from, and Dr. Wilkinson will walk you through your options during your consultation.
What Our Patients Are Saying!
“Such a warm, kind staff—every person I interact with there! Dr. Schmitz is very thorough and so personable. He has provided me with wonderful advice on maintaining my eye health.
The staff in the eyeglass shop are extremely helpful in finding glasses that are comfortable, stylish and right for my face! They have always helped me choose glasses I love to wear!” -LP
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What is recovery like from cataracts surgery?
Immediately after your procedure, Dr. Wilkinson will have you in an eye patch. It’s likely you’ll also have a protective eye shield taped over your eye. You’ll need to wear this shield when sleeping for several days. You’ll probably have somewhat blurry vision at first, but this isn’t cause for any concern. This will rapidly improve within just a few hours or days. Your eye may itch and be mildly uncomfortable, but you must not rub or exert any pressure on it.
You need to be careful to not elevate blood pressure to your head. That means behaviors such as bending down, strenuous exertion, or any lifting of more than just a few pounds is totally off limits. Eye drops will help with inflammation and infection, and they help control the pressure in the eye.
You can resume daily activities in a few days, but full healing can take up to two months. Surgery is done on only one eye at a time. If your other eye also needs surgery, we’ll schedule it for one to two months after this first surgery.
How long after my cataract surgery will my vision be blurry?
Patients can become alarmed if their vision seems blurry after they remove the eye patch. This is completely normal; it takes a little time for your body’s visual system to adjust to the removal of the cataract and to adapt to the new intraocular lens put in its place. Some patients even can have wavy vision for about one hour after they remove the patch.
Most patients have some amount of blurry vision. For many this clears within several hours. For others, it can take up to a week or two to fully clear, although it begins clearing before that. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your vision returns to normal, and in many cases the new “normal” will be better vision than you’ve had for many years.
Will I need eyeglasses after cataract surgery?
This depends on your choice of IOLs. Formerly, most patients would require reading glasses for up close vision, as the IOLs generally provided excellent distance vision. But as IOL technology has advanced, there are now multifocal and accommodating IOL options that can eliminate the need for glasses in just about all situations.
Can cataracts return?
Once the clouded lens with the cataract is removed, the artificial lens that replaces the natural lens cannot develop a cataract. If you’ve only had one cataract addressed, the other eye can still develop a cataract and need surgery, but cataracts do not “return.” The IOL that replaces the cataract-clouded natural lens remains in place the rest of your life and they do not deteriorate in any way.
Can I prevent myself from getting cataracts?
Not always, but there are things you can do to help prevent them or slow them down. Limiting sun exposure by wearing sunglasses or wide-brimmed hats helps. Also, smoking is known to cause cataracts so quitting smoking can be helpful. No specific vitamins have been shown to prevent or slow down cataracts yet.
Our Surgical Office is available to answer any other questions you might have at (248) 334-4931, ext. 1161.
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