Cataracts Specialist in Pittsburgh, PA
If you need diagnosis and treatment for cataracts, our experienced ophthalmologists at Everett & Hurite are ready to assist you! More than one million cataract surgeries are performed each year in the United States. Cataract surgery has become one of the safest and most successful procedures in all of medicine. More than 95% of patients will obtain substantially improved vision after surgery, and the chance of problems due to the surgery, such as bleeding or infection, is less than one out of a hundred.
Our practice has ophthalmologists who specialize in cataract surgery and are highly trained in this area of eye care with years of experience. They can provide you with the best care you can get in the tri-state area for cataracts, starting with cataract evaluation, followed by cataract treatment, and continued with post-surgical cataract care.
Frequently Asked Question
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is the clouding of the internal lens in the eyes, which interferes with the ability to see clearly. In a healthy eye, this lens would be clear, allowing light to enter seamlessly, and that enables you to see clearly. When you have a cataract, the clouding of the lens makes it like seeing through a foggy window. Some common symptoms of cataracts are:
- Blurry vision
- Problems seeing at night
- Seeing halos around lights
- Double vision in one eye
- Fading colors
What are the Surgical Treatments for Cataracts?
At present, there is no way to eliminate a cataract other than surgically removing it. Cataract surgery is the most common treatment for this medical condition. Here at Everett & Hurite, our ophthalmologists specializing in cataract surgery can help you in providing personalized care on two of the most common surgical treatments for cataracts. They are:
Phacoemulsification or Phaco: This is the most common line of treatment for cataracts, which utilizes ultrasound waves to break the cataract which is subsequently removed through a process called Aspiration.
Extracapsular cataract extraction: This method is used to treat more advanced cataracts and it involves the removal of the cataract and the lens, and replaced by an artificial lens implant. While it takes about a month to heal completely after the procedure, these eye surgeries provide vision improvement rapidly in the first day or two after surgery.
Who is a candidate for cataract surgery?
Many people with cataracts can see quite well, and are not in need of cataract surgery. It is only when the cataract impairs vision to the extent that activities like reading or driving or if the vision is not correctable with prescription glasses, a cataract surgery may be necessary. Our team of expert ophthalmologists and eye care professionals at Everett & Hurite can help you determine if surgery is the right step for you.
What does traditional cataract surgery entail?
Cataract surgery is almost always an outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia, so you are awake for the entire procedure. Techniques vary widely, but the eye is always numbed completely with an anesthetic, and you are often given a mild sedative to help you relax. The surgery is performed under a microscope to provide a magnified view of the eye. The doctor makes a small incision with a diamond blade in the eye to open up the front surface of the cataract and this allows access to the clouded tissue. The cloudy portion is then removed, leaving the thin clear back surface of the capsule in place. This can be done either with a phacoemulsifier or manually with extracapsular instruments. The clear artificial lens implant is then placed in the capsule of the natural lens, and the incision is closed.
Patients return home the day of the surgery, and are examined the next day. To accelerate the healing process and prevent infections, eye drops will be prescribed to you. You will also be given some recommendations on keeping your eyes from straining, as it affects the healing process.
What are the benefits of Cataract Surgery?
Vision almost always improves greatly within 4-6 weeks, although many patients may see better within 1-2 weeks or less. Almost everyone will need a new glasses prescription after surgery, although they may be needed only for distance or for reading depending on the power of the lens implant.
Is Premium Lens Cataract Surgery better for me?
Premium lens surgery may be considered when cataracts develop in one or both eyes, the same as normal cataract surgery. But the premium lens cataract surgery goes a step beyond "normal" cataract replacement surgery, in that it uses intraocular lenses (IOLs) that address patients' vision needs, specifically near and far vision (Multifocal Lens) and astigmatism (Toric Lens). Patients who opt for premium surgeries, however, will need to consider the cost of the procedure, as insurance companies and Medicare typically only cover standard cataract surgeries .
What are Multifocal / Toric lens implants?
There have been many advances in cataract surgery that have made the process easier and more successful. The intraocular lens or IOL technology is one such advance. Lens implants, also known as intraocular lenses (IOLs) are the lenses that replace your natural lens after cataract surgery. IOLs are now even able to correct astigmatism and give people a range of vision. That means you no longer have to choose either distance or near vision when having surgery.
There are two types of IOLs:
Monofocal lenses: They provide clear vision at one distance only. This means that the patient has to wear glasses to supplement their vision and achieve the full range of sight.
Multifocal premium lenses: They are FDA-approved and can be chosen specifically for patients electing to correct near, intermediate, and distance vision after cataract surgery. This gives you an increased independence from glasses as it can be personalized to your lifestyle. These premium lenses require a comprehensive ophthalmic examination to check for conditions like Astigmatism and the overall health of the retina. During your visit, our ophthalmologists will discuss these lenses in detail and go over all the available options and alternatives.
How can Multifocal / Toric lenses help me with Cataract?
Most people who need cataract surgery wear glasses full time and/or the glasses do not improve their vision. Once cataract surgery is completed, many people expect to not wear glasses at all. With a traditional monofocal lens, that is not possible. Most people will still need a reading glasses, and some will need to wear glasses full time. At the time of surgery, you can chose to be more independent from glasses by correcting astigmatism, and implanting a multifocal lens. This allows you to see at a distance and up close under most lighting conditions. There will still be times when glasses would be helpful though. Not all patients are good candidates though for a multifocal lens. Please talk to us if you have interest in this type of lens. It is important to have a thorough exam to see if if this lens is right for you.
Astigmatism can also be corrected with the special toric lens. This lens counteracts the irregular shape of a cornea and brings images into focus. For example, astigmatism makes a circle look like an oval by elongating the image in one direction. In practical terms, it makes it hard to distinguish an 8 from a 6. A toric lens will correct this issue and give you the best possible vision uncorrected (without glasses). You may still need a prescription to read and sometimes to see at a distance, but in general, a toric lens is a great investment.
One important thing to consider here: Specialty lenses are not covered by any insurance plan. Insurance companies regard them as cosmetic meaning that all associated expenses are considered out of pocket. If you would like more information, call and make an appointment with one of our doctors and we would be happy to help you.
What if I have cataracts in both eyes?
Each eye will have to be evaluated separately and together for cataracts to ensure the lenses you choose fit your needs in the best possible way. Typically, surgery is performed in one eye at a time. After a few weeks of healing and evaluation, the surgery on the next eye will be performed.
There are effective treatment options for cataracts. If you have any of the symptoms or are experiencing vision loss due to cataracts, it is time that you discuss treatment options with our ophthalmologists. You can call any of our 10 offices conveniently located near you or use our simple online tool to request an appointment.