What Is A Cataract?

The natural lens of the eye, located behind the iris, helps sharply focus light onto the retina, allowing us to see clearly. As we age, the lens gradually becomes less flexible and more cloudy, or opaque. This clouding of the lens, known as cataract, causes the light to become scattered as it passes through. This is what causes the blurred vision that we experience with cataracts, along with glare and haloes as the cataracts progress.

The natural, or crystalline, lens of the eye has several layers, like an onion. Different layers can become cloudy at different rates, and affect vision in different ways:

  1. Nuclear cataracts are the most common form of cataract and are usually associated with aging. Nuclear cataracts form deep in the central zone of the lens.
  2. Posterior subcapsular cataracts are a cloudy ‘sheet’ that develop at the back of the lens and occur mostly in patients with diabetes and those that have been on steroid medications.
  3. Cortical cataracts are characterized by white, wedge-like opacities that develop from the outer edges of the lens and move inward toward the center in a spoke-like pattern. This type of cataract is most common among diabetics.

Cataract symptoms include:

  • A loss of color, detail or sharpness to your vision
  • Blurry, cloudy or dim vision
  • Decreased night vision, especially while driving
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Glare (lights fanning out like a starburst) from headlights and other lights at nighttime
  • Haloes around lights (circles of light around headlights and other lights) mostly at night
  • Colors don’t appear as bright
  • Double vision

Depending on the severity of your cataracts, your vision may be temporarily improved simply by adjusting the prescription of your eyeglasses. But unfortunately, that is the extent of cataract treatment possibilities. Because cataracts are a natural part of the aging process, there is nothing that can done to reverse the condition. If your lifestyle is significantly affected by your cataracts and you find it difficult to complete daily tasks such as reading, writing, or driving, the single option is to undergo cataract surgery.

Cataract Surgery

When your lifestyle becomes significantly affected by your cataracts and surgery becomes necessary, rest assured that Dr. Rahul Pandit will provide you with excellent care at Houston Methodist Hospital. Fortunately, today’s cataract surgery is a safe, quick outpatient procedure with a rapid recovery time that could transform your life!

Modern cataract surgery uses ultrasound to liquefy the cataract, which is then suctioned out through a tiny microincision that requires no sutures. An intraocular lens (IOL) is then inserted through the same microincision and placed into its proper and permanent position in the eye.

Laser-assisted cataract surgery makes the procedure even more precise and predictable than ever before. Benefits of Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery include:

  • A highly customization procedure
  • Little to no discomfort
  • More precise treatment
  • Gentler and easier cataract removal
  • More rapid visual recovery

Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery Educational Video
Educational video for patients describing laser assisted cataract surgery with the Catalys Femtosecond laser.

Basic cataract surgery corrects for most of your distance vision needs; most patients will still require glasses for precise distance vision clarity, as well as up-close reading and computer use. However, with premium lens options, often in combination with laser-assisted surgery, the need for distance glasses as well as bifocals or reading glasses can be significantly reduced and in some cases even eliminated altogether.