Cataract Surgery in Orange County, CA
Cataracts are a common vision problem associated with aging. Nearly 70% of individuals over the age of 80 will have cataracts. In most cases, cataracts develop in patients over the age of 50 and become more prevalent with age. Cataracts are a clouding of the natural lens of the eye that occurs when certain proteins clump together. Once cataracts form, they will not resolve naturally or through the use of medications. While early cataracts may not need to be addressed, cataract surgery will be required once cataracts begin to impair vision. Fortunately, modern cataract surgery is an incredibly safe and effective procedure that can successfully restore vision.
Candidates for Cataract Surgery
Patients who have been diagnosed with cataracts that are affecting their visual function are candidates for cataract surgery. There are certain instances in which we may not recommend cataract surgery immediately. These include:
- Patients whose eyes are in the early stages of cataract development, in which other solutions can correct the problem. For example, using better lighting and having an up-to-date eyeglasses prescription may be adequate to achieve clear vision.
- Patients with certain pre-existing eye diseases or systemic conditions may not be able to undergo cataract surgery.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised to postpone cataract surgery.
In all other cases, we recommend that patients undergo cataract surgery as soon as cataracts negatively impact their vision. Once the vision is impaired, there is no reason to delay the surgery, as cataracts will only worsen as time goes on.
Cataract Surgery Overview
Modern cataract surgery involves the removal of the damaged lens of the eye and insertion of an artificial lens, known as an intraocular lens (IOL) to restore vision. It is a relatively straightforward procedure that is performed on an outpatient basis and takes less than 30 minutes per eye. The following provides an overview of how the surgeons at Beach Eye Medical Group perform cataract surgery.
- Anesthesia and preparation of the eye. In most cases, numbing eye drops will be administered to keep the patient comfortable during surgery. An eye speculum will be positioned to keep the eye open during the procedure.
- Corneal incision. To access the lens of the eye, the surgeon makes a tiny incision along the edge of the cornea of the eye (the transparent part of the eye that covers the pupil and the iris). The incision is small enough that the wound should self-seal, thus sutures will not be required.
- Capsulotomy. The gain access to the lens, the surgeon must open the front portion of the lens capsule. Using a needle, he makes a small hole in the capsule and then carefully creates a round, smooth opening using a gentle tearing technique.
- Emulsification and removal of lens. Ultrasound energy will be used to break the lens into tiny fragments. The surgeon then aspirates all of the fragments out of the lens capsule.
- Insertion of IOL. Once the lens has been completely removed, the intraocular lens can be implanted. The lens is folded so that it can be inserted through the tiny opening. Once in place, the lens springs open and settles into his final position inside the lens capsule.
- Patient monitoring. Once the surgery is finished, patients typically remain at our outpatient surgery center for a short time until they feel well enough to return home. Anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops will be provided, along with instructions for how often and how long to use them.
After the surgery, most patients will notice an immediate improvement in their vision. The majority of healing occurs in the first week and complete recovery occurs within a month.
Corneal Wavefront Technology for Cataract Surgery
At Beach Eye Medical Group, Irvine we’re proud to offer the most advanced technology to our cataract surgery patients. We have the ability to use Wavefront technology created by NASA to take measurements of the eye prior to surgery and create a unique map of the eyes. This gives us valuable data that allows us to select the optimal IOL during surgery, ensuring the highest quality results with the sharpest vision. Before the use of Wavefront technology, surgeons would implant whatever IOL was convenient, economical, or available. Now, we can actually select the standard IOL that optimizes your vision and sharpens even night vision. Beach Eye Medical Group has the only eye care specialists that offer this technology in Orange County. When our patients leave the surgical center, they can feel confident knowing that they have gotten the best result from their surgery.
How Does Cataract Surgery Work?
Traditionally, cataract surgery is performed with a thin blade used to carefully remove the cataract from the eye. With technological advancements in medicine, we are able to offer laser cataract surgery – a bladeless cataract removal procedure with the precision and accuracy of a laser. Using a laser guided system, our cataract surgeons expertly removes the cataract and places an IOL or intraocular lens on the eye. Depending on the patient’s needs and preferences a different IOL or surgical method will be used.
Correcting Common Eye Conditions with Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is performed to remove disruptive cataracts that cloud the vision, but it can also correct common eye conditions. Conditions such as astigmatism, presbyopia, and farsightedness can be relieved using one of our premium intraocular lens implants. Depending on the patient’s specific eye condition, our cataract surgeon will recommend the best lens implant for them.
Which Intraocular Lenses Are Right For You?
Intraocular lenses are thin artificial lenses implanted on top of the eye during cataract surgery. At Beach Eye Medical Group, we offer various types of intraocular lenes (IOL’s) for conditions such as astigmatism and presbyopia. We also offer monofocal, multifocal and accommodating premium IOL’s as well.