Although 20.5 million Americans over the age of 40 have cataracts, this condition is one of the most curable causes of vision loss. You don't have to live with vision loss from cataracts, and may even be able to see without glasses after surgery.
A cataract is the clouding of the eye's normally clear lens, blocking the passage of light needed for vision. It forms slowly and causes no pain. There are no drugs or exercises that will make a cataract disappear, however, when it begins to affect vision, the cataract can be removed during outpatient surgery under local anesthesia.
New techniques developed over the past decade have made cataract surgery one of the safest and most successful procedures in terms of restoring quality of life to patients. Each year, more than 2 million cataract surgeries are performed in the United States.
Cataract surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist under local anesthetic at an outpatient center. During surgery, a tiny incision is made in the cornea. The cloudy natural lens is broken up into microscopic particles and suctioned from the eye. It is replaced with an artificial lens to give the eye proper focusing power. The incision usually needs no stitches, and the surgical procedure generally takes less than 15 minutes.
In most cases, the improvement in the patient's vision is noticeable immediately. Patients see colors more vividly and report clear, sharper vision. Cataracts do not grow back once removed, but some patients do experience clouding months or years after surgery. This is easily corrected by an in-office procedure called the YAG laser posterior capsulotomy.
Your eye doctor may suspect a cataract if you report a gradual, painless blurring of vision, double vision in one eye or fading or yellowing of colors. When older patients mention sensitivity to glare or bright light, or trouble driving at night, it is likely due to cataracts. Also, if a senior citizen needs frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions, a cataract evaluation should be scheduled.
The notion that a cataract has to be "ripe" before it's removed is not true. The best time to have a cataract removed is when it starts to interfere with the patient's activities and hobbies.
Although an optometrist often diagnoses a cataract, it can only be removed by an ophthalmologist trained in ocular surgery. Drs. Thomas Armstrong, Eric George and Avraham Cohen use the latest surgical technology and precise measurements to insure your best vision. Combined, they have performed thousands of cataract surgeries. They have been trusted to operate on the parents of many local doctors and nurses as well as their own family members and neighbors. Our surgeons perform cataract procedures at one of three certified ophthalmic surgery centers:
Abington Surgical Center
2701 Blair Mill Road # 35
Willow Grove, PA 19090
Huntingdon Valley Surgery Center
1800 Byberry Road # 10
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
Wills Eye Surgery Center in Bucks County
401 North York Road
Warminster, PA 18974
The Latest Innovations in Treating Cataracts
Drs. Armstrong, George and Cohen are pleased to offer the newest innovation in cataract surgery: premium cataract lens implants, also known as premium intraocular lenses, multi-focal lenses or premium cataract lenses. You may also have heard of these lenses by their brand names, including Symfony, ReSTOR and Tecnis. These lenses offer clear vision at near, far and middle distances, eliminating the need for corrective lenses in most cases.
The procedure is similar to traditional cataract surgery, in which a small incision is made at the edge of the cornea and the cloudy natural lens removed. However, when traditional single-focus lenses are inserted to replace the natural lens, the patient usually requires glasses for near and intermediate vision. With premium multi-focal lenses, most patients are able to see a full range of vision, without glasses or contact lenses, for the first time in decades.
Premium intraocular lenses offer many benefits over traditional implants, but are not an option for everyone. The most successful patients are motivated to see without glasses, yet have realistic expectations about their vision after surgery. Your surgeon will schedule additional appointments for measurements and to discuss lens options, resulting in the best vision for your lifestyle.
There is an additional cost for premium cataract lens surgery, for which insurance provides partial coverage. Our staff will explain more about the costs, benefits, and possible risks of both traditional and premium lenses during your cataract evaluation, and will provide you with literature to help you select the right option.
We now offer "less drops" cataract surgery, a new procedure that minimizes the need for eye drops. Ask about it at your cataract evaluation appointment.
Toric Lenses for Astigmatism
Astigmatism is a common refractive error, and causes distortion in a person's vision. It occurs when the cornea is not perfectly spherical. Glasses or contact lenses can be prescribed to correct astigmatism, but your doctor may suggest correction with a toric intraocular lens during cataract surgery.
Toric lenses are specially manufactured to correct astigmatism, and replace your cloudy natural lens using methods similar to traditional cataract surgery. Patients have been very pleased with their resulting vision, and most report decreased dependence on glasses.
There is an additional cost for toric cataract lens surgery, for which insurance provides partial coverage.
iStent for Glaucoma Patients with Cataracts
More than 20% of all cataract procedures also involve glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Armstrong George Cohen Will Ophthalmology offers the latest technology for these patients: the iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass Stent. The iStent is inserted during cataract surgery to reduce intraocular pressure in adult patients with mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma. The iStent device creates a permanent opening in the eye's clogged drainage system, increasing the eye's ability to improve aqueous outflow. This allows intraocular pressure to be lowered, and patients may be able to reduce or eliminate their need for glaucoma medications. Our Glaucoma Specialist Avraham Cohen MD is performing this new procedure, and is pleased with his patients' results.
Have you been told you need cataract surgery, or do you have symptoms consistent with cataracts? Cataract evaluations are covered by most insurance plans. To schedule a cataract evaluation, call 215.672.9030 or make an appointment online.