Cataracts

Contact the Wills Eye Cataract Service

Call Now: 215-928-3041
Email: jscully@willseye.org
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Robert Bailey Jr., Chief of Wills Eye Cataract & Primary Eye Care ServiceWills Eye is one of the most advanced centers for eye care in the world. Our cataract doctors are focused exclusively on the health of your eyes, because we believe that restoring or improving sight through cataract surgery can make a significant difference in people's lives.

We offer state-of-the-art facilities with a full range of surgical options featuring the latest technologies, surgical implants, and diagnostic imaging. Our doctors, world renowned for their expertise, are fully trained in the newest ophthalmic surgical techniques and innovations.

About Cataracts

Nearly everyone will develop cataracts at some point. Typically, a cataract needs to be removed only when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV.

Cataract is the term used to describe a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. A clouded lens can be compared to a window that is frosted or "fogged" with steam. When the lens becomes cloudy, the light reaching the retina is blurred and distorted, and your vision is affected. This clouded lens is called a cataract, and it must be removed before vision can be restored. Cataracts are not cancerous. They can be treated with a surgical procedure that has become a fairly common procedure in the U.S.

Symptoms

Photo of mature cataract

When we are young, the lens of the eye is flexible and clear. It can adjust or accommodate to allow us to see close or far away. At middle age, many people begin to notice difficulty with their reading vision. This is because the lens of the eye has stiffened and is no longer able to accommodate to see up close. As time goes on and the lens becomes cloudy, people may experience difficulty when driving at night due to glare from oncoming headlights. Decreased color perception as well as blurred vision for reading and seeing street signs may be experienced. Difficulty with other activities and a feeling that vision is just “not quite as sharp as it was” may also be symptoms of a cataract.

Treatment

Cataract surgery is one of the safest surgeries performed in the United States today and is most often done as an outpatient procedure. Most cataract procedures take only a short time and most patients recover quickly.

When cataract surgery is performed, most of the natural lens is removed but most of the capsule or membrane that surrounds the lens is left in place. This capsule helps to keep the fluids behind the lens undisturbed and also holds the intraocular lens (IOL). A local anesthesia (numbing gel) is placed in the eye and light intravenous sedation is administered. You should not see instruments coming toward your eye and you should not feel pain in your eye during surgery. The incision made to remove the cataract is so small that it usually does not require stitches. Phacoemulsification (a type of ultrasound) is the most common method used to remove the cataract.