There are many misconceptions about cataracts. A cataract is not: 

        - A film over the eye 
        - Caused by over-using the eyes 
        - A cancer spread from one eye to the other 
        - A cause of irreversible blindness 

Cataracts are most frequently caused by the aging of the natural lens of the eye, and are a common cause of poor vision among the elderly. Other causes of cataracts include: 

        - Medical problems (such as diabetes) 
        - Injury to the eye 
        - Medications (such as steroids) 
        - Long-term, unprotected exposure to sunlight 
        - Previous eye surgery 

Most cataracts are caused by the aging progress. This happens slowly over a period of years. How quickly a cataract develops varies from patient to patient, and may even vary between a patient's two eyes. Some cataracts, especially in young people and those with diabetes, may progress rapidly over a few months. It is impossible to predict exactly how fast cataracts will develop in any given patient. 

How Is A Cataract Detected?

The presence and extent of a cataract can best be detected with a through exam by your ophthalmologist. It is possible that other problems related to the retina or optic nerve could also be causing some of the blurred vision or discomfort. Your ophthalmologist should look for this as well. If extensive problems are found, the cataract removal may not completely restore your vision. If damage to the optic nerve or retina is severe enough, cataract removal may not result in any vision improvement. Your ophthalmologist can tell you how much vision improvement you can expect to gain with cataract removal. 

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is performed under local anesthesia and is an outpatient procedure. The cloudy lens is removed from the eye using a microscope, micro-surgical instruments, and ultrasound technology. Lasers can also assist with the removal of cataracts.  The removed cataract is replaced by a permanent intraocular lens implant that restores the focusing power of the eye. Multi-focal, mono-focal and astigmatic lenses are available. Ask your a Chattanooga Eye Institute Representative to explain the differences and help you with the decision. 

In approximately one-fifth of all patients who have cataract surgery the natural capsule that supports the intraocular lens implant becomes cloudy. In these cases, a YAG laser is used to open the cloudy capsule and restore clear vision. 

Cataract surgery is a highly successful procedure, resulting in improved vision in more than 90% of all cases, unless there are other problems found with the cornea, retina, or optic nerve. More than 1.4 million people have cataract surgery in the United States each year. However, it is important to remember, as with any surgery, complications can occur, and a positive result cannot be guaranteed.

As with any eye problem, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about your situation. 

After Your Cataract Surgery

-Following surgery, you may resume normal non-strenuous activity. Do not lift anything heavier then 25 pounds for one week. Do not lift anything over 50 pounds for one month. 

-Tape the eye shield over your eye each night for 2 weeks following surgery. This is to protect the eye from pressure and rubbing. Sleep on your back or on the side opposite the healing eye. 

-Be extremely careful not to rub the eye for 2 weeks. 

-You may take baths and wash your hair immediately. If you get something in your eye while bathing, simply wash your eye with antibiotic drops. 

- Reading , writing, and watching TV are permitted immediately following surgery. 

-Use a cotton ball moistened with water to cleanse your eyelids of any crusting and discharge. This may occur each morning for at least one week following the surgery. 

-Use dark sunglasses in bright sunlight. 

-You may resume driving when you feel comfortable with your vision. 

-Resume any regular medications you are taking when you return home from the hospital. 

Your Next Appointment: 

-Your physician will  see you in the office the day after surgery. Your appointment time will be given to you the day of your surgery. 

-Please remember to bring all of your eye drops and eye medications to this visit. Your physician will tell you when to stop using or decrease these medications.
Common Post -Operative Symptoms 

- Expect blurred vision, or variable vision, for the first few days after surgery. You should notice improvements over the first few weeks. However, if you experience worsening vision, please call the office for further instructions. 

- Because your eye has been changed by surgery, it will most likely feel bothersome to wear your current glasses until you are fitted with new lenses. This is usually done about two weeks after surgery. However, you may wear your old glasses without fear of straining or injuring your operated eye until then. 

 - After the first 24 hours, your eye should be tender, but not painful. It is common to have a scratching sensation under your upper eyelid. This is part of the healing process and should subside in several days. 

- Itchiness is also common. Please do not itch or rub your eyes as doing so may cause further irritation and prolong healing time.

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