What is Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is one of the most successful surgical procedures performed today in the United States. Chicago ophthalmologist Dr. Stuart Sondheimer has been on the leading edge, offering the newest technology of this microsurgical procedure as it has evolved. He has performed many thousands of cataract removals and insertions of intraocular lenses to restore clear, sharp vision for patients.
What is a cataract?
A cataract causes poor vision and can ultimately result in blindness if not removed. In the early stages, patients complain of vision that is a little fuzzy or blurred. This is because the eye’s natural crystalline lens is becoming cloudy, or opaque. As it grows, so does the list of symptoms, i.e., foggy vision, faded colors, problems with glare, difficulty seeing television, and feeling as though you are looking through a veil or film. As they advance, many people with report needing to change their glasses prescription frequently, especially for stronger lenses.
Am I a Candidate for Cataract Surgery?
When the cataract causes significant interference with important functions of life such as difficulty seeing to drive, read, or in some people even seeing a golf ball, then Cataract Surgery might be considered. Different people need cataract surgery at different times. An airline pilot or a truck driver usually will need Cataract Surgery early in its course when the loss of contrast interferes with safe flying or driving, especially at night. A person who is debilitated may not require Cataract Surgery despite having a substantial Cataract. The decision whether or not to have surgery should be a function of the degree of difficulty that a person has with important visual needs.
The best predictor of how much a cataract will progress over the next 6 months is how much it progressed over the last 6 months. Usually, it will progress a similar amount as it did in the previous period.
Cataract Treatment OPtions
Many patients choose to have surgery on both eyes; some choose to have surgery on one eye. If a large amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism is corrected in the first eye’s surgery, there may be an imbalance in the two eyes that is best treated with having the surgery on the second eye. If the vision impairment is severe in both eyes, then the second eye is usually treated surgically. Multifocal IOL’s and many Toric IOL patients choose to have surgery on the second eye. Younger patients and patients with a significant cataract in only one eye, often choose to have cataract surgery on one eye. Traumatic cataracts are usually treated with surgery only on the affected eye. Drug-induced cataracts (usually caused by corticosteroids) sometimes require bilateral surgery and sometimes only need cataract surgery on one eye.
After having the first eye’s Cataract Surgery, some patients choose to quickly have the other eye treated; other patients decide that they are happy seeing without having an operation on second eye.. Sometimes when a Nearsighted patient has the first eye corrected to see well in the distance without glasses, he or she may enjoy seeing well with the unoperated eye for near. In this way, he or she may decide not to have the second eye operated on and enjoy Monovision, seeing well at Near and Far without glasses. I help my patients determine whether it is their best interest to plan to have Cataract Surgery on one or both eyes. Sometimes their decisions about whether or not to have the second eye’s surgery may change after having surgery on the first eye.
Cataract Surgery Procedure
First, Dr. Sondheimer uses numbing drops in the eye to anesthetize it for patient comfort. There are no uncomfortable shots or needles. He makes a carefully constructed incision and then fragments the cloudy lens of the eye using ultrasound waves. He then gently vacuums the fragmented cataract away, and a new intraocular lens is inserted. Because of the specially constructed incision, there is generally no need for stitches, and the incision is left to heal naturally. Patients may return to most normal activities almost immediately.
Dr. Sondheimer is one of the most sought after laser eye surgeons in addition to helping many cataract patients with their vision needs.
Alternative Cataract Treatments
Will I need glasses after cataract surgery?
Following cataract surgery, many patients don’t need glasses for most activities. Nearsightedness (blurriness in the distance without glasses), Farsightedness (causing blurriness in reading and distance without glasses), Astigmatism (a distortion of vision caused by multiple planes of focus at the same distance), and Presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) can all be treated with Cataract Surgery, although glasses or other optical correction, such as contact lenses, might be required to see adequately.
Some patients choose to not have their Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, Astigmatism, and/or Presbyopia treated when they have Cataract Surgery.
Is cataract surgery safe?
Cataract Surgery is very safe for over 99% of patients but some patients will see poorly after Cataract Surgery and rarely blindness can result from Cataract Surgery.
When can I return to normal activities?
Most patients can return to work the day after having Surgery after seeing me in the office.
Schedule a consultation
If you would like more information on cataract surgery, contact one of our North Suburban Chicago offices today! Call 847-677-2794 to schedule a consultation today!