Your eye has a clear lens through which light passes, allowing you to see. When the lens loses its transparency, the cloudy tissue that develops is known as a cataract. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss among adults. Now, the 650,000 Southern Californians who suffer from cataracts have access to the first significant treatment advance in more than a decade.
A cataract is a progressive clouding of the eye's natural lens that interferes with light passing through to the retina. Sufferers usually describe the condition as being similar to looking through a waterfall, or a piece of wax paper, with a gradual blurring or dimming of vision.
- Blurred/hazy vision
- Spots in front of the eye(s)
- Sensitivity to glare
- A feeling of "film" over the eye(s)
Most people develop cataracts simply as a result of aging, with the majority of cases occurring in people over the age of 55. Over 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed with cataracts each year. Other risk factors include eye injury or disease, a family history of cataracts, smoking or use of certain medications.
For people who are significantly affected by cataracts, lens replacement surgery may be recommended. During cataract replacement, the most common surgical procedure in the country, the lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one called an intraocular lens (IOL).
The clear lens focuses light on the retina.
The cataract interferes with light before it reaches the retina.
An IOL replaces the eye's natural lens after cataract removal.
Premium Laser Cataract Surgery
The LenSx femtosecond laser can perform several steps of the cataract operation in an automated and more predictable fashion than is currently practiced. It promises to achieve greater accuracy in optical outcomes and will be available as an option for selected cases.
Dr. Samuel Masket and Dr. Nicole Fram offer a revolutionary new form of Premium Cataract Surgery. Employing the LenSx Femtosecond laser for added precision in key parts of the cataract surgical procedure, our surgeons anticipate the safest and most reliable outcomes for our cataract surgery patients. Although present levels of surgery are a virtual miracle of modern medicine, the new premium laser assisted method promises even greater accuracy.
Dr. Masket was the first surgeon to adapt the femtosecond laser technology for the purpose of cataract surgery in experimental work as early as 2004. He and Dr. Fram published this work in the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery in 2010. Now, use of this laser for our patients has become a reality, and we are among the first users of the laser in the US. Specialty Surgery Center in Beverly Hills, where the surgery will be performed is among the first 15 centers in the country to house the laser.
Premium Laser Cataract Surgery removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL).
We perform a minimally invasive, small-incision, no-stitch cataract surgery called phacoemulsification ("phaco") surgery. First, the eye is numbed with anesthesia. Then a tiny incision is made in the eye to make room for a small ultrasonic probe. This probe breaks up, or emulsifies, the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The pieces are then suctioned out through the probe.
After the cloudy lens has been removed, a new artificial lens, or IOL, is implanted in the eye. With the recent advance of foldable IOLs, artificial lenses can be implanted through the same small incision from the phaco procedure.
Cataract surgery involves the use of micro-incisions to remove the clouded lens and replace it with a man-made artificial lens. Mathematical, computer driven formulas are used to select the power for the new lens. The traditional artificial lens does not allow the eye to focus at varied distances. The traditional artificial lens is single focus, or monofocal, which means that it can provide clear vision for distance or near, but not both.
Typically, we target the traditional artificial lens for distance correction. Ideally, the artificial lens provides clear vision for distance without eyeglasses. In this scenario, you would be less spectacle dependent and need glasses only for near work after cataract surgery.
Additionally, astigmatism, a very common irregular curvature of the eye, may require the use of eyeglasses for distance and near following surgery.
FLOMAX and Cataract Surgery
You may have noted television advertisements that alert patients about cataract surgery when using a drug known as Flomax. In recent years pharmaceutical agents have been prescribed to help patients, mostly men, with prostate related difficulties in passing urine. Flomax (generic) is most commonly used and has been associated with a new condition during cataract surgery, the floppy iris syndrome. Initially this condition caused a greater chance for complications during cataract surgery.
However, Dr. Masket was part of a national study of the condition and developed a method to prevent surgical problems so long as the patient informed him of use of Flomax. Dr Masket recommends that all patients considering the use of Flomax follow these guidelines:
- Have an eye examination to determine if cataracts are present
- If cataract formation is found, consider surgery before starting Flomax
- If Flomax is already being used, continue routinely but inform the office of its use
- Inform the office if you have previously used Flomax but have presently stopped its use
- Do not be especially concerned if cataract surgery is needed, as Dr. Masket had developed methods that prevent chances for complications
If you would like more information about Cataract Evaluation or to schedule an appointment, feel free to fill out our convenient contact form or call us directly at 310.229.1220.