Cataract Q & A

Posted on April 30th, 2014 by clvc

Q & A with Robert Lyons, M.D.

Dr. Robert Lyons is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist who specializes in Cataract and Refractive Surgery at Clearview Eyecare and Laser Center. Prior to joining Clearview, Dr. Lyons served as an ophthalmologist in the United States Air Force and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In addition to operating on our wounded troops in Iraq, he has performed thousands of vision correcting procedures on his patients, including USAF fighter pilots.

What is a cataract?

A cataract occurs when the clear lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. The lens is located just behind the colored part of the eye and the pupil. The development of a cataract is a normal part of the aging process but can be cause by trauma, ultra violet light, or certain medications.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can range anywhere from slight vision loss to complete blindness. Common symptoms include blurred vision, glare, light sensitivity, poor night vision and dimming or yellowing of colors.

How is a cataract detected?

By performing a thorough eye examination, your doctor can detect the presence of a cataract.

How is a cataract treated?

Surgery is the only effective treatment for a cataract. Over 1.5 million people have cataract surgery each year in the US and that number will grow as the baby boomers age. No medications, dietary supplements or exercises have been shown to prevent or cure cataracts. Glasses may improve vision with cataracts, but this is usually a temporary solution.

What is “No-Shot/No-Stitch” cataract surgery?

At our specialized cataract surgery center, we use the latest techniques to offer the best options for our patients. Our process only requires a few hours from start to finish. No shots are given, but rather “topical” or eye drop anesthesia is used along with a small amount of IV sedation to relieve patient anxiety.

What are the advantages of “No-Shot/No-Stitch” surgery?

Safer surgery and faster visual recovery, which yield a quicker return to a normal lifestyle, are the biggest advantages along with shorter surgery time, less irritation, and no need to wear a patch after surgery.

What choices of intraocular lens implants are available?

During modern cataract surgery, a vision correcting permanent lens is placed in the eye known as an intraocular lens (IOL). Today there are many IOL options available with many of the options offering something different, but not necessarily better. Choosing the proper intraocular lens can be a daunting task for both patient and doctor. At Clearview, we strive to match the different IOL options to each individual instead of taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach. It is important to understand that Medicare and all insurance companies will not cover some of the IOL options offered. We highly recommend a second opinion if you feel pressured to choose a “Lifestyle” lens, or are told you are only a candidate for a “premium IOL”. The vast majority of patients do extremely well with standard IOLs that require little or no out of pocket expense.

Are cataracts removed with a laser?

NO! A laser cannot remove a cataract. Cataracts are still manually removed through a very small incision. However, there is a laser that can perform some of the steps of the surgery, but no clinical studies have shown a benefit to the patient, and the additional cost of this laser is passed on to the patient since insurance and Medicare do not pay for it. Again, we recommend a second opinion whenever a patient is being asked to pay for non-covered services that may or may not benefit the patient.