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.