Houston Cataract Surgery
For more than 60 years, the pioneering surgeons of Berkeley Eye Center have helped set the standard in cataract care in Texas and around the world. Even though our methods of cataract removal and lens implantation are embraced globally by colleagues and patients alike, our focus remains right here at home in Houston on your vision.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process of the eye. Over fifty percent of people over the age of 60 (and quite a few younger than that) suffer from cataracts. Almost everyone develops cataracts as they grow older. Cataract formations occur at different rates and can affect one or both eyes.
A cataract is a progressive clouding of the eye’s natural lens. It interferes with light passing through the eye to the retina. Aging and other factors cause proteins in the eye’s lens to clump together forming these cloudy areas. Early changes may not disturb vision, but over time cataracts typically result in blurred or fuzzy vision and sensitivity to light, which makes activities like night driving and reading more difficult. People with progressed cataracts often say they feel as if they’re looking through a waterfall or a piece of wax paper.
- Decreasing vision with age
- Blurred or double vision
- Seeing halos around bright lights
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Vision that worsens in sunlight
- Difficulty distinguishing colors
- Poor depth perception
- Frequent prescription changes for glasses
- Difficulty reading
- Eye trauma
- Some medications including long-term use of oral steroids
- Ultraviolet radiation
- Certain metabolic conditions
Your eye doctor can perform multiple tests to determine how much your vision has been affected by a cataract. But typically, when decreased vision affects your everyday activities or hobbies, a cataract should be treated.
Once cataracts mature, the only one way to achieve clear vision again is through cataract surgery.
Candidates for Cataract Surgery are those who:
- Believe that their quality of life has been impaired by poor vision
- Have been diagnosed with cataracts
- Have no other contraindicating health issues affecting their eyes
During cataract surgery, the cloudy natural lens inside your eye will be removed and replaced with a new intraocular lens (IOL). With advances in surgical and intraocular lens technology, there are frequently many different approaches to restoring vision during cataract surgery. Our staff will educate you about the different options you have and introduce some of the new and exciting technologies offered at Berkeley Eye Center, including our new Laser Cataract Surgery procedure, ORA system technology, and the latest lens implant technology.
Thanks to these advances in technology, cataract surgery patients today have the option of reducing their need for glasses at the same time as their cataract procedure. Your lifestyle, activities and the type of vision you desire after surgery will help the doctor determine the surgical process and lens implant best suited for your particular needs.
In your parents’ or grandparents’ day, cataract surgery was considered risky, required a lengthy hospital stay and was usually postponed for as long as possible. Today, cataract surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and takes only a few minutes. It is now one of the most common and successful medical procedures performed. In fact, following cataract surgery, many patients experience vision that is actually better than what they had before they developed cataracts.
You will arrive at the surgery center about an hour prior to your procedure. Once you have been checked in you may be offered a sedative to help you relax. You will then be prepared for surgery. The area around your eyes will be cleaned, and a sterile drape may be applied around your eye. Eye drops or a local anesthetic will be used to numb your eyes. When your eye is completely numb, an eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to keep you from blinking during the procedure.
A very small incision will be made, the cataract will be broken up into microscopic particles and then suctioned away. Depending on the surgical process your doctor determines is best for you, this process may be done using our new femtosecond laser or by traditional manual removal, in which a tiny ultrasonic probe will be used to break up the cataract using high-energy sound waves. This is called phacoemulsification.
Next, a folded intraocular lens (IOL) will be inserted through the micro-incision, unfolded, and carefully placed into its permanent position. The small incision is “self-sealing” and usually requires no stitches. It remains tightly closed by the natural outward pressure within the eye. This type of incision heals fast and provides a much more comfortable recuperation.
You will go home soon after the surgery and relax for the rest of the day. Everyone heals somewhat differently, but many patients report improvement in their vision within hours. Most patients return to their normal activities by a day or two, with some limited restrictions for 1-2 weeks.
“…Freedom. I wake up in the morning, get the newspaper and read it right away. No glasses.”
Jerry Webb – Cataract & Lens Patient
“It’s kind of like being 20 years old again! I’ve been extremely pleased with vision that I got as the result of the surgery.”
David Burnett – Cataract Patient