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What is a Cataract?

To understand a cataract, it is important to understand how the eye works. The eye functions much like a camera. Light rays enter the eye, passing through the cornea, then the pupil and through the lens. The lens bends the light rays to focus objects onto the retina, lining the back of the eye. From there, the image passes through the retinal cells, into the optic nerve, and finally to the back of the brain which processes the images.

Cataracts occur when there is a buildup of protein in the lens that makes it cloudy. This prevents light from passing clearly through the lens, causing some loss of vision. Since new lens cells form on the outside of the lens, all the older cells are compacted into the center of the lens and  a cataract is formed.  When the lens becomes cloudy it is then called a cataract.
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Understanding Cataracts

Types of Cataracts Include:

  • Age-Related Cataracts – This type of cataract develops as a result of aging.
  • Congenital Cataracts – Babies are sometimes born with cataracts as a result of an infection, injury, or poor development before they were born.
  • Secondary Cataracts – These types of cataracts develop as a result of other medical conditions, such as diabetes, exposure to toxic substances, certain drugs (such as corticosteroids or diuretics), ultraviolet light, or radiation.
  • Traumatic Cataracts – These form after injury to the eye.

Other factors that have an effect on the eye and that can increase a person’s risk of developing cataracts include cigarette smoke, air pollution, heavy or frequent doses of steroids, and heavy alcohol consumption. The forming of a cataract can significantly reduce vision and ultimately reduce longevity of life, as a recent study has shown.

What are the Symptoms of a Cataract?

Cataracts usually form slowly and cause few symptoms until they noticeably block light. When symptoms are present, they can include:

  • Vision that is cloudy, blurry, or foggy; having difficulty reading street signs, reading a newspaper, seeing TV captions, following a golf ball, etc.
  • Progressive nearsightedness.
  • Changes in perception of color because the discolored lens acts as a filter.
  • Problems driving at night, such as glare from oncoming headlights.
  • Glare problems during the day from sunlight.
  • Double vision (appears as a superimposed image).
  • Frequent changes in glasses prescriptions? Needing more light to read.

Cataract Cape Coral

Cataract Risk Factors

Here at Tyson Eye in Naples, we understand that cataracts are scary and many people who are diagnosed believe that there is something they could have done to prevent it. While there are plenty of risk factors thought to contribute to cataract formation, there is no known way to prevent or cause cataracts. The largest risk factor for cataracts is age. In fact, over 25 million people in the US alone are living with cataracts today, with that number expected to double by 2050. It is nearly impossible to successfully prevent cataracts, so don’t beat yourself up about it!

Cataract risk factors include:

  • Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • Previous eye surgery
  • Previous eye injury
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroid medication
  • Significant alcohol consumption
  • High myopia
  • Family history

Cataract Prevention

There is no known method of cataract prevention, and there is some controversy about whether or not it can be done. However, there are numerous studies, past and on going, that suggest there may be a way. Some believe reducing UV exposure by wearing sunglasses can help. Others think that your diet may have a lot to do with whether or not you develop cataracts. Studies have suggested that certain nutrient and nutritional supplements may reduce your risk of developing cataracts.

One such study of female health professionals over a 10-year period found that high intakes of vitamin E and other nutrients were associated with a significant decrease in cataract development. Good sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, and spinach.

While these things may reduce your risk of developing cataracts, they cannot treat them. The only treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery.

How Are They Diagnosed?

An eye exam should be given to test how well you can see wearing your glasses (be sure to bring them to your appointment). The doctor will dilate your pupils in order to examine the condition of the lens and other parts of the eye.

Farrell C. Tyson, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Farrell C. Tyson
M.D., F.A.C.S.
Ophthalmologist
Medical Director and C.E.O.

Cataract Surgery

Going in for your cataract surgery can be intimidating, however, you have nothing to worry about at Tyson Eye in Naples. Our expert staff and experienced doctors have your covered. What should you expect before, during and after your cataract surgery?

Before Your Cataract Surgery
Before your cataract surgery, you will have a consultation. During this consultation, your Naples cataract surgeon will check your eyes to make sure they are healthy enough for surgery. You will also give your doctor an idea of your medical background and any current medical conditions.
During this consultation, you and Dr. Tyson will discuss IOLs. Your IOL will replace your cataract, so it is important to choose one that fits your visual needs and lifestyle.

During Your Surgery
The day of your cataract surgery, you will want to arrange a ride home for after your surgery. Make sure to pick up any prescriptions you may need for after the surgery.

Before beginning, Dr. Tyson will numb your eyes. He will then create a small incision in the cornea that will allow access to the cataract. Once the cataract is accessed, he will use ultrasonic technology to break up the cataract for easy removal. Once the cataract has been completely removed, a clear, flexible intraocular lens (IOL) will take its place.

Once the IOL is properly positioned, your cataract surgery is over!

After Cataract Surgery
After your surgery, you will be able to go home. Dr. Tyson will likely send you home with an eye patch, which you will keep on for a certain amount of time to keep the eye safe as it heals. You will be given antibiotic eye drops, and you will use lubricating drops to keep your eyes comfortable.
Your eyes should heal quickly, and you will have several follow up appointments to ensure everything is healing, as it should. Cataract patients typically see an improvement in vision immediately after surgery, but full results will not be apparent until a few weeks after surgery.

Why Tyson Eye for Your Cataract Surgery?

Founded in 1980 by Dr. Benjamin G. Martin, Tyson Eye is one of the most experienced providers of eye care and surgery services in Southwest Florida. Tyson Eye pioneered ambulatory surgery in Cape Coral in 1988 when the practice opened the first free-standing ambulatory surgery center in that location. The Eye Surgery & Laser Center is fully licensed by the State of Florida as an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) and is approved by Medicare and the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. It is the only facility in Cape Coral where eye surgery is performed. Tyson Eye is a second-generation medical practice that is dedicated to bringing its patients quality care and the latest clinical advancements.

Experienced Surgeon

As one of the most notable cataract surgeons in the area, Dr. Tyson’s expertise provides him access to the most cutting-edge advancements and newest technology in ophthalmic care. Dr. Tyson offers the latest in cataract surgery, the “Cold Phaco” cataract removal system.

The Cold Phaco System is the most gentle and efficient method of cataract extraction. The tip of the instrument is introduced into the eye through a small incision. Localized, high frequency waves are generated through this tip to break the cataract into very tiny fragments and pieces, which are then suctioned out through the same tip in a controlled manner. A thin ‘capsule’ or shell is left behind after removal of the entire opaque cataract. A folded intraocular lens is inserted through the micro-incision, then unfolded and set into permanent position. The small incision is “self-sealing” and usually requires no stitches. This type of incision heals fast and provides a much more comfortable recuperation.

Dr. Tyson is one of the first physicians in the world utilizing intraoperative wavefront technology during cataract surgery and is one of few ophthalmologists currently implanting the new FDA-approved Tecnis® Multifocal IOL. Tyson Eye is the only facility in Cape Coral equipped to perform eye surgery, and has the only Cold Phaco System in Southwest Florida. Dr. Tyson performs all eye surgeries personally and works with the patient pre and post operatively. He has been performing these types of surgical procedures for more than a decade as well as lecturing on surgical procedures and practices internationally.

Dr. Tyson was the first surgeon in Florida in a nonacademic setting to use the Tecnis™ Lens, an intraocular lens which offers increased contrast sensitivity. In 2004, he was the first surgeon in Southwest Florida to perform the latest bimanual micro-incisional cataract surgery. Dr. Tyson is a national instructor for other ophthalmologists learning this technique. In 2005, Dr. Tyson was the first surgeon in Southwest Florida to use the ReZoom® multifocal lens.

Dr. Tyson practices among an elite group of eye physicians leading the research and development of new treatments for cataracts and eye diseases. The Tyson Eye is an FDA-certified clinical trial facility, recently testing new interocular lens and treatments for cataracts. A Johns Hopkins graduate with a degree in Biomedical Engineering, Dr. Tyson’s contributions continue to assist ophthalmologists worldwide in their ability to offer patients new advancements in vision technology. This translates to our patients receiving the most up-to-date eye care.

Benjamin G. Martin, MD FACS
Benjamin G. Martin
MD FACS Ophthalmologist
Founder
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