There is only one way to treat a cataract. The clouded lens needs to be removed and replaced with a synthetic lens implant. A new pair of glasses in the face of a clouded natural lens will not bring relief of visual symptoms. It’s similar to looking through a foggy, dirty window and expecting a new pair of glasses to remedy the problem. It will not be helpful.
The cataract is removed via a process called phacoemulsification. The lens (phakos, in Greek) is gently liquified (or emulsified) by ultrasound waves. The liquid is then suctioned from the eye. With this process, a large lens can be removed through a tiny incision that measures approximately 2.5 millimeters. The replacement lens is rolled into a shape resembling a taco and placed inside the eye through the same incision. Generally, stitches are not required to close the incision, as it is small enough to self seal.
We utilize multiple modalities to measure the contour and length of the eye prior to your cataract procedure. These measurements, made with both laser and ultrasound technologies, generate data that we plug into the most modern formulas in order to calculate what prescription of lens implant will best serve each individual. Many people desire their best possible distance vision, so they could enjoy driving, athletics and entertainment without requiring their glasses. These people accept that they will need reading glasses for near tasks. Other people would prefer to have their “20/20 point” for close vision. They wish to be able to read and use their computers without needing glasses, and accept that they will require a light pair of driving glasses. Another approach is called “monovision,” whereby one eye is corrected for distance and the other for near. Some people have experienced monovision for years with their contact lenses and have become adapted to the asymmetry. For them, permanent surgical monovision may be a comfortable solution. There are higher-technology lens implants, notably the Symfony lens from Johnson and Johnson, which can deliver distance, midrange and near vision without requiring glasses for most tasks.
We utilize local anesthetic techniques to assure that your procedure will not be painful. The area of the eye is temporarily “frozen.” In this way, you will not see instruments coming close to you. Also, you will not be able to look right or left at an inopportune moment or try to close your eye during the procedure. We always work along with an MD anesthesiologist who administers intravenous sedation in order to relieve any anxiety one might feel.
We perform our procedures at our ambulatory surgical center in Fair Lawn, at the Bergen Passaic Cataract Surgery and Laser Center. Bergen Passaic is often referred to by eye surgeons as “ophthalmology heaven” because of the excellence of the equipment and surgical support staff. There, you do not encounter the bureaucratic hassles of a hospital. Importantly, the only patients being treated at the facility are healthy people who require eye surgery. Anyone who is contagious is not permitted to enter the center. We did the first case upon Bergen Passaic’s opening, in 1988.
This is not your grandmother’s cataract procedure. We remove and replace the cataract with a comfortable, roughly 15-minute procedure. Your vision is corrected according to your needs. We work very hard to make it seem easy to our patients, treating each individual with our best technical excellence and good humor.
By Ronald M. Glassman, M.D, of Resident Eye Care Associates, LLC
Ronald M. Glassman, M.D. is the medical director of Resident Eye Care Associates, LLC.