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Senior Citizen's Guide to Philadelphia

Cataract Surgery
Bringing Life Back Into Focus

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens. It interferes with vision by preventing light from passing through the lens to focus on the retina. The lens of your eye works much like the lens of a camera, so that when it is fogged or clouded, it creates a blurred image. Cataracts are one of the most common (yet most treatable) causes of decreased vision in the U.S.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom is blurred or clouded vision. This may cause difficulty seeing street signs, watching TV, or reading. It is also common for colors to become dull and for patients to experience glare, making driving at night more difficult. Although cataracts are associated with the normal aging process, people can develop them in their 40's and 50's, or even younger.

What causes cataracts?

Cataracts have many causes. The most important is ultraviolet light exposure from the sun over the course of a lifetime. Just like wrinkles, everyone will develop some degree of cataract if they live long enough. In the past, cataracts had to be very dense or "ripe" before they could be taken out. Now, technology has made such strides that cataracts can be removed at any stage.

Advanced Treatment

Anesthetic eye drops are used to numb the eye before surgery, a technique pioneered at Kremer Eye Institute. Without injections, the procedure is safer and eliminates bruising and soreness. Surgeons make a micro-incision that heals rapidly and eliminates the need for stitches in most patients. The cataract is then dissolved using ultrasound and replaced with a lens implant (IOL). Surgeons are able to implant IOLs that correct astigmatism, as well as allow patients to see both up close and far away. For many, this has completely eliminated the need for glasses.

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