Cataract & Lid Surgery
When the crystalline lens inside the eye becomes cloudy, it is known as a cataract. The surgery is not performed by lasers but by a technique known as Phacoemulsification. Phacoemulsification, now the standard of care for removing cataracts, was only developed about three (3) decades ago. Phacoemulsification is suitable for cataract removal with infants as well as older adults.
Phacoemulsification is a microsurgical technique that is, the surgery is performed through a special operating room microscope. A very small incision (about 1/4 of an inch) is made into the anterior portion of the eye. The cataract is broken into a number of small fragments with ultrasonic waves. These pieces are then removed from the eye by aspiration. Only the lens capsule is left the cortex and nucleus of the crystalline lens are removed.
Since the natural lens of the eye has been removed, a new intraocular lens implant is placed into the lens capsule to take the place of the natural lens. This implant is called an IOL. Prior to cataract surgery, careful measurements of the eyeball's length and corneal curvature are made. These measurements allow an IOL to be chosen so that your refractive error following surgery is as small as possible. In many cases, patients do not need any glasses to see at distance. Most patients though will need glasses for reading.
Phacoemulsification surgical techniques have been improved greatly over the past few years. These improvements allow a very small incision to be made into the eye, which does not require any sutures (stitches) to close the wound. This means fewer complications following surgery, quicker healing time for the eye, and less trauma to the surrounding ocular tissue. In most cases, patients are fit with glasses at three to four weeks following surgery.
There are many different types of cataracts and many different causes of cataracts. You can be born with a cataract, acquire one at any age, develop a cataract due to medications you are taking, develop one due to eye trauma, or develop a cataract as you age. It is not uncommon to develop a cataract in your fifties. Most people over sixty (60) years of age have some type of cataract in one or both eyes.
Cataract surgery today is much better than it was just a few years ago. Today the operation takes about thirty (30) minutes or less, and only local anesthetic is used. You use eye drops for several weeks, and most patients get new glasses at three (4) weeks following surgery. While the operation is not risk free, there are very few complication associated with the "no stitch" cataract surgery.
Sometimes following cataract surgery, a haze or skim forms on the posterior aspect of the lens capsule. This growth of cells is called an After Cataract(capsular fibrosis). This type of cataract is removed by a YAG Laser when a patient's vision becomes affected. YAG laser surgery only takes a few minutes to perform, and almost all patients see more clearly within a few hours. Dr. Baza will see YAG patients one to three days postoperatively.
Dr. Baza co-manages cataract surgery patients with the cataract surgeon, and can answer any question you have concerning cataract surgery.
Another very common eye surgery today is upper eyelid surgery to correct blepharochalisis or droopy eyelids. Many persons in their forties and fifties need to have this surgery. When your eyelid droops, it blocks your superior visual field, and in extreme cases may block part of your central vision. Also, droopy eyelids are not attractive and may cause and individual to look older than they actually are. This surgery is usually done on both eyelids at the same time, and you can return to work the next day. Sutures are removed about a week later. Most patients see and feel much better following this surgery.