In youth, the human lens is clear like a window. As one ages, the lens’ proteins change and the lens turns either a whitish-gray or yellow-brown color. In a mature cataract, the pupil, which normally appears black, may even appear white or golden brown.
As a cataract progresses, you may notice a decrease in the clarity of your vision that glasses cannot fully correct. You may also experience:
Low Risk. High Reward
Cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to restore vision. It’s usually done on an outpatient basis and only requires a short recovery period. The surgeon generally completes the procedure in less than 15 minutes, and complications occur in less than one in 100 cases. After cataract surgery, most patients can resume their normal activities the following day.
The surgery involves removing the patient’s cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens called an IOL, or intraocular lens. An IOL is a clear, plastic lens that requires no care and becomes a permanent part of the eye. Read more about IOLs.
The most commonly used cataract surgery procedure today is termed “phaco,” or Phacoemulsification. “Phaco” reduces recovery time, as well as the risks involved with the larger incisions used in the older type of cataract surgery.
This surgery only involves a few steps:
Any surgery has risks. One common complication is a secondary cataract, in which the back part of the eye capsule becomes hazy months or years after surgery. If this occurs, your doctor can treat the problem with a YAG laser in a quick outpatient procedure. Read more about the YAG procedure.