Cataract Surgery at Our San Francisco Eye Care Center

According to the National Eye Institute, cataracts affect nearly 22 million Americans age 40 and older.

cataracts surgery

Cataract surgery is probably the most common surgical procedure performed in the western world today. 

Cataracts are named for the white appearance of the human lens that resembles a turbulent waterfall when examined with a magnified lens. Cataracts are a fact of life for nearly all of us. Just like gray hair, some people get cataracts earlier and some later. 

When the cloudiness of the natural lens increases to a degree that significantly blurs the vision or creates disabling glare, it may be time to consider having cataract surgery. 

The top lens is clear. The bottom lens shows clouding by cataract.

The top lens is clear. The bottom lens shows clouding by cataract.

Fortunately, cataract surgery has become increasingly safe and effective due to continual quality improvements in technology and techniques. Modern cataract surgery is performed through one or more tiny incisions in the clear window of the eye, called the cornea, thus another name for the procedure is clear-corneal cataract surgery. These incisions usually do not need to have stitches (sutureless cataract surgery). 

Typically the tiny fluid chamber in the front of the eye is maintained with synthetic visco-elastic fluids that are injected into the eye during the surgery. With the chamber now maintained and with microscopic control, the surgeon can create a round opening in the fragile lens capsule and evacuate the lens material with a technique called phacoemulsification. 

The eye is now ready to have a new lens implanted that will focus images in the eye sharply again and thus eliminate blurriness and glare. Different powers and styles of intraocular lens implants can be chosen to suit the needs and desires of patients who might want to be nearsighted in both eyes, farsighted in both eyes, or have one of each, a procedure called monovision. It is also possible to reduce your dependence on eyeglasses or contact lenses using the latest astigmatism correcting intraocular lenses, also called Toric Lenses or multifocal intraocular implants to achieve both distance and reading vision in many cases. 

Like all surgeries, cataract surgery has risks and these should always be considered in the decision-making process. Dr. Kevin Tan is our ophthalmologist who routinely and frequently performs cataract surgery and can further discuss with you the procedure in depth, preparation for and recovery after surgery, benefits and possible complications of cataract surgery, cataract surgery costs and other important information. Together, we can help you decide if cataract surgery is appropriate for you.

Information courtesy of EyeSmart (geteyesmart.org).