Koch Eye Associates

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Am I a candidate for surgery?

Surgery of any kind is an important decision and you should become fully informed about the procedure you are considering. Refractive surgery is designed to offer people an alternative to, or lessen dependence upon glasses or contact lenses. If you are unhappy or uncomfortable with your current form of vision correction, surgery may be an option for you. To find out if you are a candidate, a complimentary screening evaluation is your first step.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. It can be compared to a frosted or steam-fogged window. There are many misconceptions about cataracts.

    A cataract is:

  • not a film over the eye;
  •  not caused by overusing the eyes;
  • not spread from one eye to the other;
  • not a cause of irreversible blindness.

    Some common symptoms of cataract are:

  • painless blurry vision;
  • glare, or sensitivity to light;
  • frequent eyeglass prescription changes;
  • double vision in one eye;
  • needing brighter light to read;
  • poor night vision;
  • fading or yellowing of colors.

The amount and pattern of cloudiness in the lens can vary. If the cloudiness is not near the center of the lens, you may not even be aware that a cataract is present.

What causes cataracts?

The most common type of cataract is related to aging of the eye. Other causes include:

  • family history;
  • medical problems, such as diabetes;
  • injury to the eye;
  • medications, such as steroids;
  • long-term, unprotected exposure to sunlight;
  • a previous eye surgery

How is a cataract detected?

A thorough eye examination by your ophthalmologist can detect the presence and extent of a cataract, as well as any other conditions that may be causing blurred vision or other symptoms.

There may be other reasons for visual loss aside from the cataract, particularly problems involving the retina or optic nerve.

If these problems are present, perfect vision may not be possible after cataract removal.If any other conditions are severe, removal of the cataract may not result in any improvement in vision. Your ophthalmologist can tell you how much visual improvement is likely.

How fast does a cataract develop?

How quickly the cataract develops varies among patients and may vary even between both eyes. Most cataracts associated with the aging process can progress gradually over a period of years.

Other cataracts, particularly in young people and diabetics, may progress quickly over a few months. It is not possible to predict exactly how fast a cataract will develop in individuals.

How are cataracts treated?

Surgery is the only way your ophthalmologist can remove a cataract. However, if symptoms are mild, a change of glasses may be all that is needed for you to function comfortably.

There are no medications, exercises, or optical devices that have been shown to prevent or cure cataracts.Protection from excessive sunlight could help prevent or slow the progression of cataracts. Sunglasses that screen out ultraviolet light rays, or regular eyeglasses with an anti-ultraviolet coating can provide this protection.

When should surgery be done?

Surgery should be considered when cataracts cause enough loss of vision to interfere with daily activities. It is not true that cataracts should be "ripe" before they can be removed.

Cataract surgery should be performed when your visual needs require it. You must decide if you can function safely and comfortably in your daily activities; if you cannot, then it could be time to have the cataract removed and you should discuss this with your doctor.

What can I expect from cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia at Koch Eye Associates, as an outpatient procedure. The cloudy lens is removed from the eye and the focusing power of the removed lens is restored by replacing it with a permanent intraocular lens implant. The surgeon performs the surgery using a microscope, miniature instruments and other modern technology.

After cataract surgery, you may return to all but the most strenuous activities almost immediately. You will be instructed to use eye drops and postoperative visits are scheduled to check on your eye as it heals.After cataract surgery, approximately one-fifth of patients experience a clouding of the natural capsule that supports the new lens. Laser surgery is used to open this cloudy capsule and restore clear vision.

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The Greater New Bedford Surgical and Laser Center

The Greater New Bedford Surgical and Laser Center was opened in 1986 with the express purpose of rendering high quality, state of the art eye surgery to patients of all ages, especially those with cataracts, glaucoma, or cornea disease. The Center is designed specifically with the needs of the patient in mind. The entire process from initial examination to final outcome is conducted in a pleasant comfortable environment.

After a patient decides to have surgery, he or she is assigned his or her own Surgical Counselor who is available to answer questions and provide assistance. These individuals are specially trained to assist the patient throughout the entire surgical experience, including follow up care for as long as necessary. Patients are encouraged to contact their counselor for any questions, no matter how simple or complex.