Cloudy, blurry vision often indicates the presence of cataracts, especially in men and women over age 50. Our practice includes some of the best ophthalmologists who provide personalized care for traditional or laser cataract eye surgery patients at our Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens, NYC, offices, where we treat all New York City and Long Island residents who require cataract surgery or treatment for this common condition.
What Are Cataracts?
Having cataracts can make it seem like you’re seeing the world through a dusty windshield. The clouding of your eye’s natural lens, which is behind the iris and pupil, is called a cataract. Cataracts typically develop with age and are one of the most common eye conditions we treat at New York Ophthalmology. Protecting your eyes from the sun and not smoking can help slow down the development of cataracts, but most people will eventually get them.
There are 3 types of cataracts:
- Subcapsular cataract: This type occurs at the rear of the lens. It’s most prevalent in people with diabetes or people who take high doses of steroid medications.
- Nuclear cataract: This type develops deep within the nucleus of the lens. Nuclear cataracts are the most common age-related cataracts.
- Cortical cataract: Characterized by whitish cloudy areas, these cataracts develop on the outside edge of the lens, called the cortex.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Aging is the most common cause of cataracts, which usually develop gradually over several years. Cataracts in younger people or diabetics tend to develop more quickly. When cataracts develop, the cloudiness decreases your visual acuity and produces a variety of symptoms, including:
- Blurry vision
- Seeing double
- Light sensitivity
- Problems seeing at night
- Bright colors appear dull
Our ophthalmologists diagnose cataracts using non-invasive eye exams that can also detect other conditions, such as glaucoma.
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The lens of the eye helps focus light on the retina, the tissue at the back of the eye. When the lens has become thickened and cloudy, the only effective treatment is surgically removing the cataract. Cataract removal is a common procedure and it’s safely performed millions of times each year.
Cataract surgery can be performed using a small blade (traditional cataract surgery) or with the assistance of a laser. Traditional cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the world and is often the most appropriate choice for patients.
Traditional Cataract Surgery
During traditional cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist makes a tiny incision and then inserts a pen-shaped probe that uses ultrasound energy to break up the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. This process is called phacoemulsification. The probe then suctions the pieces from the eye. The eye surgeon then replaces the cloudy lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Different types of IOLs are available and our ophthalmologists clearly explain the differences prior to your surgery.
Laser Cataract Surgery
Laser cataract surgery uses laser energy to create an incision in the cornea, but most of the procedure is quite similar to traditional cataract surgery. Not all patients are appropriate candidates for laser cataract surgery. Your ophthalmologist reviews the options during your initial appointment and gathers your medical history and specific vision concerns before recommending the treatment plan best suited for you.
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that typically takes about 10 minutes, whether it’s traditional or laser-assisted surgery.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From Cataract Surgery?
The recovery period for both laser-assisted cataract surgery and traditional cataract surgery is the same. Some people can see clearly almost immediately, while others may find their vision clears within about a week or two. Remember that it takes about 3 months to fully recover from cataract surgery.
Cataract Surgery FAQ
Are you awake during cataract surgery?
Yes. Cataract surgery can be performed with minimal sedation and local anesthesia.
Do you wear an eye patch after cataract surgery?
Yes. You will wear the eye patch after surgery, until the next day when you are seen in the office.
Is traditional cataract surgery or laser cataract surgery best?
Every patient is different. Please visit us for a consultation to determine what is best for your eyes.
Is cataract surgery painful?
No. There is typically little or no discomfort during cataract surgery.
How long does cloudy vision last after cataract surgery?
Usually, patients have cloudy vision for 1 day to 2 weeks, depending on the type of surgery.
To learn more about cataracts and your treatment options, request an appointment using our online form, or call our office at 1-888-212-EYES to schedule an appointment at one of our locations in New York City or on Long Island.