June is cataracts awareness month, focusing attention on a problem affecting roughly 25 million Americans. Though cataracts can happen to people of any age and for a number of causes, they are most often associated with aging.
Cataracts typically start to form when people are in their 40s and 50s, but at this stage are so small they don’t usually interfere with vision. However, by the time people reach their 60s, many find cataracts are causing problems, like blurry, muted or double vision, and sensitivity to the glare of headlights, lamps and sunlight. If left untreated, cataracts can become so dense that all functional vision is lost.
To understand how cataracts affect vision, one must understand what they are. The human lens is located behind the iris and the pupil. When clear and healthy, this lens directs light onto the retina and enables the eye to focus clearly. The lens itself is made of mainly water and protein. Over time, exposure to UV light or after physical trauma to the eye, the lens protein can degrade, creating a cloudy cataract.
“Cataracts are the most common cause of vision deterioration in people 55 and older,” says Lake Eye ophthalmologist and eye surgeon Dr. Scott Wehrly. “People find they’re unable to see clearly, especially at night, which causes many to give up driving, reading and other important activities.” People can also have trouble telling colors apart and cataract surgery can restore normal color vision again.
Today’s advances in surgical procedures have made suffering with cataracts a thing of the past. Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure in which the clouded natural lens is replaced with an
artificial lens selected specifically for each patient. “We utilize a computer technology called ORA, which helps me best select a customized implant with incredible accuracy for ultimate patient satisfaction,” says Dr. Wehrly, who has performed thousands of state-of-the-art cataract surgeries, including LenSx® refractive laser surgery, the most advanced, safest and most accurate system in existence. Lake Eye is the first local practice to offer this advanced bladeless surgical system. “It is safe, painless and effective and typically takes under 10 minutes. Most patients are able to return to normal activities the next day.” Many people report noticing improvement to their vision immediately, with further improvement of the subsequent days and weeks. “We implant only the finest proven intraocular replacement lenses, which include the Symphony® lens, the first and only FDA-approved extended-range multifocal lens to deliver clear vision at all distances, Toric lenses to correct cataracts and astigmatism, and multifocal lenses (Restor and Tecnis) for distance and near vision,” says Dr. Wehrly. “These IOLs allow some patients to achieve complete restoration of their vision. Some end up with the best vision of their lives. It’s remarkable and gratifying to restore something as valuable as clear eyesight to people who were previously struggling with everyday tasks.”
Lake Eye’s Board Certified ophthalmological surgeons, Dr. Scott Wehrly, Dr. Scot Holman and Dr. Vinay Gutti perform advanced cataract surgery at the Santa Fe Surgery Center in The Villages.
For the 3 million people who undergo cataract surgery each year, this is excellent news. If you suffer from cataracts that interfere with your quality of life, it might be time to call the trusted professionals of Lake Eye Associates and see what you’ve been missing.