Cataracts: Symptoms and Treatment

HOLIDAY LIGHT HALOS By Dr. Lisa Bennett, Ophthalmologist at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Suakville, Wisconsin

By user-admin
December 9, 2019

Holiday season is here along with many displays of decorative exterior lighting.  While they can be quite beautiful, sometimes how the holiday lights appear can alert you that something might not be quite right with your vision.

Starbursts and halos are a common vision complaint when looking at holiday lights or even headlights all year long.  We use the term “starburst” to describe what you see when a pinpoint of light appears to have radiating spokes coming off it. The term “halo” describes when you see circles around a light source. Both symptoms can be due to something as benign as not having the most up-to-date glasses or contact lens prescription to more serious problems such as cataracts. If you are noticing these symptoms, during the holiday season or anytime during the year, your first move is to call us for a comprehensive eye examination so we can determine the cause and take care of it.

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens in the front of the eye, behind the colored iris.  They can make lights appear dim, cause glare or make colors appear dull.  Cataracts are removed with a 10 minute outpatient surgery generally these days without shots, stitches or patches. The surgery involves replacing the cloudy lens with a clear plastic lens implant.  There are a number of options for these implants which will be discussed should this be found to be your problem.

Take time this holiday season to enjoy the many wonderful lighting displays.  But if the lights appear a little different this year, consider getting an eye examination. Your problem could be cataracts but it could also just be that your glasses need updating or that you have dry eyes. Have a very happy holiday season!

Dr. Lisa Bennett if an Ophthalmologist (Eye Physician & Surgeon) specializing in medical and surgical eye care including small incision cataract surgery and blade-free LASIK. She welcomes patients of all ages into her practice and accepts most insurance plans. She practices with Dr. Martha Jay and Dr. James Ivanoski at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin.

For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.


MY FRIEND COULD SEE PERFECTLY RIGHT AFTER CATARACT SURGERY, WHY CAN’T I? By Dr. Martha Jay, Ophthalmologist at Madison Medical Eye Care in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin

By user-admin
September 30, 2019

On the first day after cataract surgery, patients have varying expectations of how well they will see. Most are happy that everything went well in surgery and that their vision is already starting to improve. Others expect perfection on day one, which is not realistic. This expectation is often fueled by a friend reporting “perfect” vision on day one. While some patients can see 20/20 on the first day after cataract surgery, slight or even significant blurriness is not uncommon at that point.

Even though cataract surgery is relatively quick, often only a 10 minute procedure, it is still an operation. Your eye needs time to heal.  If the cataract was particularly dense then sometimes the surgery is slightly longer and results in some swelling on the cornea, the clear front part of the eye. Sometimes other problems cause delayed healing such as diabetic eye disease, macular degeneration or prior other eye surgeries.

We always see you on the day after your surgery to be sure you are progressing as planned. We check you vision, eye pressure and do a brief eye examination. We also want to be sure you understand how to use the post-operative drops and what your restrictions are. We may suggest the use of over-the-counter reading glasses at that time if your cataract implant was for distance vision.

As everyone is different, everyone’s perception of “perfect” is also slightly different. We realize that cataract surgery is all new to you so don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions or concerns between your appointments. While some worry that they are bothering us to call, it is certainly not the case! We are here to help.

Dr. Martha Jay is an Eye Physician & Surgeon specializing in medical and surgical eye care such as small incision cataract surgery and blade-free LASIK vision correction. She practices with Dr. Lisa Bennett and Dr. James Ivanoski at Madison Medical Eye Care in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin.

For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.

 


WHAT IS CATARACT REALLY SURGERY LIKE? By Dr. Lisa Bennett, Ophthalmologist at Madison Medical Eye Care in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin

By user-admin
September 27, 2019

Have you been delaying having cataract surgery because you are apprehensive about what the experience may be like? Does just the word “surgery” scare you? Does it bring to mind pain, long recovery and time off from your favorite activities? Fear not, nothing could be farther from the truth with cataract surgery these days.

We do cataract surgery generally without shots, stitches or patches and the whole procedure takes only 10-15 minutes. We use mild I.V. sedation to relax you and numbing drops on the surface of the eye to prevent pain. Afterwards, you look pretty much the way you did on the way in: no patch over the eye, no black and blue bruising. You should take 2 days off your regular activities, one for the actual procedure and the next day to allow your vision to settle down. Then the only restrictions then are to avoid eye make-up, swimming or pushing on the eye for 2 weeks.

On the day of surgery, you change into a hospital gown and an I.V. is started. Once in the operating room, your job is to look at a bright light. You may see pretty colors like a prism as we remove your natural lens and replace it with a tiny plastic implant.  About 30 minutes after the procedure, you go home or even out to lunch. You do need a ride, as some of the sedation may still be in effect, but you won’t need extra help at home.

So, breath-in and breath-out, cataracts surgery is generally a quick and easy event. It is the most common operation in America and patients are typically thrilled with the results.  If every procedure worked as well as cataract surgery, the world would be a much better place!

Dr. Lisa Bennett is an Ophthalmologist (Eye Physician & Surgeon) practicing with Dr. Martha Jay and Dr. James Ivanoski at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin. She specializes in medical and surgical eye care including small incision cataract surgery and blade-free LASIK.

For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.


CATARACT SURGERY IMPROVES YOUR OUTLOOK ON LIFE By Dr. Lisa Bennett, Ophthalmologist at Madison Medical Eye Care in Mequon/Saukville, Wisconsin

By user-admin
September 20, 2019

When you think of cataract surgery, generally the visual change that comes to mind is an improvement in clarity but there are other added benefits: you color vision improves also. Cataracts cause the lens inside your eye to turn a yellow/brown. This makes blues look darker and whites to have a yellowed appearance. Before surgery this is not very noticeable as the change is quite gradual. When we do cataract surgery, we replace the yellowed natural lens with a clear plastic implant. Then, overnight, blues appear more vivid and whites whiter!  Since we operate on one eye at a time, the color perception difference between eyes is noticeable while waiting for the second eye to have surgery. Once both eyes have the implants, however, the world looks not only clearer but more colorful too!

How do you know if you have cataracts? Generally the symptoms include blurred distance vision, especially for driving at night. Sometimes you see glare or halos around lights. The actual diagnosis has to be made by your eye doctor after a complete, dilated eye examination. There are many other possible sources of blurred vision.  Some are minor and others are more serious. You could just need an adjustment in your glasses prescription or you could have a problem with your retina such as macular degeneration.

To get started on improving your outlook on life, schedule an eye examination and we will determine how to make you see as well as possible. Should your problem be cataracts, the surgery takes only 10-15 minutes and nowadays you generally don’t have to bother with shots, stitches or patches. See you soon!

Dr. Lisa Bennett is an Eye Physician & Surgeon (Ophthalmologist) specializing in medical and surgical eye care such as small incision cataract surgery, blade-free LASIK, glaucoma treatments, macular degeneration care, dry eye management and more. She practices at Madison Medical Eye Care with Drs. Martha Jay and James Ivanoski. They have offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin.

For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.


WHAT IS CATARACT REALLY SURGERY LIKE? By Dr. Lisa Bennett, Ophthalmologist at Madision Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin

By user-admin
September 16, 2019

Have you been delaying having cataract surgery because you are apprehensive about what the experience may be like? Does just the word “surgery” scare you? Does it bring to mind pain, long recovery and time off from your favorite activities? Fear not, nothing could be farther from the truth with cataract surgery these days.

We do cataract surgery generally without shots, stitches or patches and the whole procedure takes only 10-15 minutes. We use mild I.V. sedation to relax you and numbing drops on the surface of the eye to prevent pain. Afterwards, you look pretty much the way you did on the way in: no patch over the eye, no black and blue bruising. You should take 2 days off your regular activities, one for the actual procedure and the next day to allow your vision to settle down. Then the only restrictions then are to avoid eye make-up, swimming or pushing on the eye for 2 weeks.

On the day of surgery, you change into a hospital gown and an I.V. is started. Once in the operating room, your job is to look at a bright light. You may see pretty colors like a prism as we remove your natural lens and replace it with a tiny plastic implant.  About 30 minutes after the procedure, you go home or even out to lunch. You do need a ride, as some of the sedation may still be in effect, but you won’t need extra help at home.

So, breath-in and breath-out, cataracts surgery is generally a quick and easy event. It is the most common operation in America and patients are typically thrilled with the results.  If every procedure worked as well as cataract surgery, the world would be a much better place!

Dr. Lisa Bennett is an Ophthalmologist (Eye Physician & Surgeon) practicing at Madison Medical Eye Care with Dr. Martha Jay and Dr. James Ivanoski. She manages medical and surgical eye conditions such as cataracts, LASIK vision correction, glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eyes and more.

For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.


MORE EVIDENCE FOR THE iSTENT By Dr. Martha Jay, Ophthalmologist at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin

By user-admin
August 21, 2019

We have been recommending the iStent at the time of cataract surgery over the last few years for our patients who have both cataracts and glaucoma.  The purpose of the iStent is to increase the flow of fluid out of the eye in order to decrease eye pressure. Glaucoma is a condition where the fluid in the eye is either coming in too fast or leaving too slowly.  The buildup of pressure can cause permanent vision loss so is generally treated with eye drops.

The iStent is a tiny device, in fact it is the smallest implantable device in medicine measuring only 230 microns by 360 microns. As you may remember, there are only 1000 microns in a millimeter so that means it is only around ¼ by 1/3 of a millimeter.  After the cataract is removed and the lens inserted, we have the patient turn their head to one side and then place two of these iStents at the edge of the eye. You cannot see them without special mirrors.

When compared to cataract surgery alone, we know that the iStent does generally result in lower eye pressure. A new study just came out looked at if there was a difference in the number of glaucoma eye drops patients used after cataract surgery and found that those with the iStent had a reduction even if they were using 3 or more drops. In fact, the more the drops used the bigger the drop in the number required. This was reported in the medical journal Ophthalmology in January.  The data came from a managed care network and involved almost 3000 patients.

These results mirror what we have found also with this remarkable device. We can talk about whether the iStent is an option for you at your cataract evaluation.

Dr. Martha Jay is an Eye Physician & Surgeon practicing at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin. She specializes in small incision cataract surgery and blade-free LASIK.

For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.


HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR CATARACTS ARE “RIPE” By Dr. Lisa Bennett, Ophthalmologist at Madison Medical Eye Care with officies in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin

By user-admin
August 14, 2019

We get this question about whether a patient’s cataracts are “ripe” on a frequent basis. You too may be wondering about where this comes from and what it means. It is really a holdover from the way cataracts where done in the distant past, back 20 plus years ago. At that time cataract surgery consisted of making a large, almost 180 degree incision along the top part of the eye. The cloudy lens was then gently pushed out of the eye. If it was too soft, or “not ripe,” then it was difficult to remove in one piece.

Thankfully those days are long gone along with the shots around the eye and the patch worn afterwards. Today’s cataract surgery involves a small 2.4 mm incision. The lens is liquefied with sound waves and gently removed with a tiny aspiration probe. Instead of taking up to an hour, it is more like a 10 to 15 minute procedure. Instead of leaving with your eye patched, you go home already being able to see pretty well.

But the “ripe” concept lives on! Today we as doctors don’t use the term but if we did it would concern whether your cataracts were severe enough to warrant surgery. That means that you must be bothered by your vision, such as being frustrated due to the lack of clarity or glare symptoms while driving at night. Then your vison must be worse than a certain level on the eye chart. Finally, an exam must confirm that you have cataracts and that you could benefit from surgery.

All these things can be determined at the time of a comprehensive eye examination. To find out if your cataracts are ‘ripe” call to arrange your appointment today. Remember I am seeing patients in both our Mequon & Saukville offices. See you soon!

Dr. Lisa Bennett is an Eye Physician & Surgeon (Ophthalmologist) specializing in cataract surgery, LASIK vision correction, glaucoma care and more. She practices with Drs. Martha Jay and James Ivanoski at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin.

For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.

 


CAR CRASHES LESSEN AFTER CATARACT SURGERY By Dr. Martha Jay, Ophthalmologist at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin

By user-admin
April 1, 2019

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association - Ophthalmology last September looked at whether the rate of car accidents involving injuries in older adults was affected by having cataract surgery. The subjects were all more than 65 years-old.  Those with other eye problems, such as macular degeneration or glaucoma, were excluded. Most who had cataract surgery had the procedure done in both eyes. Accident rates from before and after the cataract surgery were compared.  The accident rates came from emergency room admissions.

The findings showed a 9% decrease in injury causing car accidents in the years following cataract surgery in the driver.  As we all know, those living in Ozaukee County are very dependent on their ability to drive to get around as public transportation options are not plentiful or particularly convenient.  While many seniors want to continue to drive, they also want to be safe on the road.  This is not just for their own safety but also for the safety of those who share the road.

There have been numerous studies about the benefits of cataract surgery including decreasing the frequency of falls, lessening depression and improving the general quality of life. I sometimes hear: “Why should I bother to have cataract surgery at my age?”  The study mentioned above adds another argument for going ahead with the procedure.

If it has been some time since you have had your eyes examined or if we have suggested cataract surgery for you in the past, you may want to consider coming in for a comprehensive eye examination.  Should we find significant cataracts, consider scheduling the procedure.  Plenty of information about cataract surgery can be found on our web site or by calling us. Consider it not just an investment in your future but also a gift to others on the road.

Dr. Martha Jay is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist specializing in small incision cataract surgery and blade-free LASIK. For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.


CATARACT SURGERY CHANGED HER LIFE: NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE

By user-admin
March 29, 2019

Click on the image to the left for a recent New York Times article describing the impact that cataract surgery had on the author.


IS CATARACT SURGERY DONE WITH A LASER? By Dr. Martha Jay, Ophthalmologist at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin

By user-admin
March 13, 2019

The question as to whether cataract surgery is done with a laser comes up from time to time. While the beginning portion of the procedure can be done with a laser at this time, I have not elected to incorporate that technology into my surgical practice.  My three main reasons are that at this point the laser makes the procedure cost considerably more, it makes the procedure take longer and there is no convincing evidence that the laser improves visual outcome.

What the laser can do at this time is make the initial incision in the eye, something that I now do quite nicely by hand with a specially designed disposable instrument. It can help manage astigmatism (turn a football shaped eye into a rounded one) but this is more effectively done with special toric lens implants. The final intended benefit is that it can soften the cataract so the ultrasound we use to remove it can work a little quicker. The problem is that the few saved seconds do not appear to translate into better vision or a quicker recovery.

I’m not saying I’ll never use a laser to help with the first few steps of cataract surgery, what I am saying is that at this time the expense just does not seem worth it for the patient. Cataract surgery gets better all the time and I am sure the industry is up to the challenge to make this technology more efficient and affordable.

For now laser cataract surgery is really a marketing device, it impresses some patients that their eye surgery would be partially done with a laser. This is not like when LASIK changed from using a blade to a laser. That was a major improvement in safety and why we now jokingly refer to it as “LASIK for Chickens.”

Once you are ready for cataract surgery, we will thoroughly discuss all your options including special implants that do have a major impact on how well you see after the procedure.

Dr. Martha Jay is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist (Eye Physician & Surgeon) who specializes in medical and surgical eye care including small incision cataract surgery and blade-free LASIK. She practices at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin.

For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.


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