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Cataract Surgery in Long Island

Woman receiving cataract consultation For many people, cataracts are a part of getting older. There is simply no way to avoid the inevitable changes in the eye’s structures that lead to the cloudiness and opacity of the natural lens. The talented team of ophthalmologists at TOC Eye® are adept at reversing the visual deterioration of cataracts. The goal is to restore clearer vision with the help of advanced artificial lenses.

Causes of Cataracts

Cataracts are a natural consequence of aging. Over time, proteins in the lens start to build up, gradually clouding the lens (think of a window that is frosty or fogged up). The lens is the portion of the eye responsible for focusing light on the retina, which sends the image to the brain through the optic nerve. When the lens develops a cloudy cataract, light is scattered and the lens cannot focus it properly.

In rare cases, babies are born with congenital cataracts. Also, cataracts can develop from trauma to the eye or as a result of taking certain medications (e.g., corticosteroids).

Cataract Symptoms

  • Cataracts usually cause visual symptoms, including the following:
  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Double vision
  • Poor vision in bright light conditions
  • Poor night vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Yellowish-tinged vision
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription

Types of Cataracts

There are a few different types of cataracts that are identified based on where they are located. The lens is a layered structure, similar to an onion. The outer layer of the lens is called the capsule, the layer inside that is the cortex and the innermost layer is the nucleus. Any of these layers can develop cataracts. A nuclear cataract develops in the center of the lens. A cortical cataract develops in the middle layer, and a posterior capsular cataract develops in the back outer layer of the lens.

Man smiling into camera Diagnosing Cataracts

Cataracts are diagnosed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist during an eye exam. The doctor wants to ensure there is no evidence of another eye disease that could compromise vision. The patient’s health history, any medical conditions and visual symptoms are discussed.

The patient’s visual acuity is measured with an eye chart to determine how much the cataract has affected near and distant vision. The eyes are examined in-depth using light and magnification. An instrument called a slit lamp microscope is used to examine the structures in the front portion of the eyes (e.g.., cornea, iris and lens). Then, the eyes are dilated with drops so the doctor can look at the structures at the back of the eye (e.g., retina, optic nerve).

How Are Cataracts Treated?

Cataract treatment depends on how badly the clouded lenses impair vision. If cataracts do not affect vision or affect it only minimally, they typically do not need to be treated. However, if cataracts impair a person’s everyday life, they need to be surgically treated. Surgical treatment involves removing the cataractous lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery is extremely safe and common.

Cataract Surgery PatientThe only way to reverse vision loss from cataracts is to have them surgically removed. Cataract surgery may sound intimidating, but it is actually one of the safest and most frequently performed operations in the country. The operation removes the clouded lens and replaces it with an artificial lens that restores clear vision and focusing power. Individuals seeking cataract surgery in Long Island turn to the team at TOC Eye® for expert treatment and exceptional patient care.

Preparing for Cataract Surgery

Prior to cataract surgery, you will meet with the TOC Eye® team for an eye exam and consultation. During the conversation, you will be asked about your health history, eye health and lifestyle to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for surgery and whether you have any risk factors. The doctors will conduct several tests to determine your eye measurements and vision needs, which are used to formulate the surgical plan. You will also select a type of IOL (intraocular lens) that suits your individual needs. Our doctors will review the pros and cons of each IOL type and help you pick out the most appropriate option based on your needs and goals. We have also provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about cataracts.

The Surgical Procedure

Cataract surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you can go home shortly after the procedure. From start to finish, the procedure takes about 15 minutes. You will be asked to arrive at the surgery center a little early to discuss any last-minute items with our team and be briefed on what is about to happen. Your eyes will be numbed with special drops, and you may receive medication to help you relax.

The first step of the cataract removal process is to make an incision in the surface of the eye. Then, the capsule that holds the lens must be gently opened. A high frequency ultrasound device is used to break up the cloudy lens into small pieces; the pieces are removed from the eye with gentle suction. After all of the pieces have been removed, the intraocular lens is inserted through the same incisions and positioned behind the iris and the pupil in the space formerly occupied by the natural lens. Once the IOL has been properly positioned, the incision is self-sealing, and a pair of sunglasses are placed over the over the eyes.

You will be monitored for a short period of time after surgery and then released into the care of a companion, who should drive you home. You will receive instructions for your recovery.

Eyeball with cataract symptoms. Recovering from Cataract Surgery

For most patients, the recovery period following cataract surgery is short and complication-free. You may experience initial side effects such as redness and blurred vision, but these should resolve quickly.

You will need to use prescription eye drops several times a day for a few weeks following your procedure. You should wear your protective eye shield for a week after surgery while you are sleeping to avoid accidentally poking or rubbing your eyes. You will also receive a special pair of post-operative sunglasses to wear outside to protect your eyes from sunlight and bright light.

Intraocular Lens Implant Options

One of the components of cataract surgery is replacing the cataract (clouded lens) with an intraocular lens implant. TOC Eye® cataract patients have a choice in their intraocular lens implant (IOL). There are several types of intraocular lens implants with unique designs and features to accommodate a variety of visual needs.


AcrySof ReSTOR is a multifocal IOL that provides clear vision at multiple distances: near, intermediate and distant.
 


The AcrySof Toric IOL gives patients with astigmatism freedom from their glasses after cataract surgery. 

AcrySof IQ PanOptix is the first trifocal IOL that provides sharp vision at all distances: near, far, and intermediate.
 

Trulign toric lenses are designed for individuals that have vision loss from cataracts and astigmatism (an abnormally shaped cornea).
 

Tecnis multifocal IOLs restore sharp vision at near, intermediate and distant ranges with superior image contrast, even in low-light conditions.
 

Cataract Surgery FAQs

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the country. As such, our doctors receive a lot of questions regarding the surgery and what to expect. Please read through frequently asked questions about cataracts.

What is a cataract?71

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Cataracts are typically attributed to the aging process.

Are cataracts common?

Yes, cataracts are very common in older adults. About half of all adults over the age of 60 have cataracts; nearly all adults over the age of 70 have cataracts.

How do I know if I have cataracts?

The only way to determine whether you have cataracts is to meet with an ophthalmologist and have a comprehensive eye exam (and additional testing). You may have cataracts if you experience any of the following:

  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Double vision
  • Poor vision in bright light conditions
  • Poor night vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Yellowish-tinged vision
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription

Can cataracts be treated with medicine?

No, cataracts cannot be treated with medicine. The only way to treat them is to remove them during a surgical operation.

Do I need to have cataract surgery?

If your cataracts are still small and in the early stages, they may not be interfering with your vision. Cataracts only need to be removed when they have progressed to the point where they are disturbing your vision significantly and impacting your daily activities.

What happens if I don’t have cataract surgery?

If you choose not to have your cataracts removed, your vision will continue to deteriorate as the lens becomes more clouded. Eventually, you may go blind.

What is the process for removing cataracts?

Cataract removal is an outpatient procedure. Incisions are made on the front of the eye and in the capsule that holds the lens. Ultrasound energy is used to break up the cataract-diseased lens into small pieces. The pieces are gently removed from the eye with suction. Then, an artificial lens is placed in the eye to restore normal vision and clear focusing power.

IOLs (Intraocular Lenses)What are my artificial lens options?

We offer several different kinds of artificial lenses with special features. Some are designed to restore clear vision at a fixed distance, whereas others restore clear vision at multiple distances. Others are designed to correct the effects of presbyopia, the age-related loss of vision.

Does cataract surgery hurt?

No, cataract surgery does not hurt. Numbing eyedrops are used to prevent you from feeling any pain. You may also take a sedative medication prior to treatment to help relax you.

How long is the recovery?

Most people notice an improvement in their vision within a day or two of the surgery. There may be a slight adjustment period as the eye adapts to the new artificial lens implant.

Can cataracts return after surgery?

Cataracts cannot return after surgery. However, at some point in time, a portion of the lens capsule may become hazy. This is known as a “secondary cataract” and can be easily treated with a short, minimally invasive, in-office procedure for clearer vision.

Learn More about Cataracts

For more information about cataract symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, please contact the team at TOC Eye® by calling 631-751-2020 today.