Cataract Surgery Q & A

Your risk of developing a cataract increases with each decade after you reach the age of 40. Cataract surgery is the only treatment available, but it’s a very effective procedure that eliminates cataracts while also correcting vision problems. Dr. David O’Day at Charleston Cornea & Refractive Surgery has extensive experience performing cataract surgery. To learn whether you’re a good candidate for cataract surgery, schedule an appointment using online booking or by calling the office in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

David G. O’Day, MD

What causes cataracts?

The clear lens in each eye fills an essential role in vision, as it precisely focuses light onto the retina at the back of your eye. Cataracts develop when proteins in the lens begin to clump together, making the lens cloudy and interfering with clear vision.

In rare cases, cataracts occur in young adults due to an injury or illness. Most cases of cataracts, however, develop as you get older. Cataracts can begin in your 40s, but they don’t interfere with your vision until they get larger. As a result, you don’t notice a vision change until about 10-20 years after the cataract first started.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

In the early stages of cataracts, new eyeglass prescriptions can overcome your vision problems. As your cataracts worsen, you’ll experience:

  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty reading
  • Poor night vision
  • Colors appear less vibrant
  • Glare or seeing halos around lights

How are cataracts treated?

Surgery is the only treatment for cataracts. It’s a common procedure that’s very effective and safe when performed by an experienced eye surgeon like Dr. O’Day.

Using a small incision, a tiny probe is inserted that emits ultrasound waves to break up the cloudy lens. The pieces are removed, then a new intraocular lens is inserted.

How are replacement lenses used to correct vision?

When you undergo cataract surgery, you can get a new lens that corrects refractive vision errors, including:

  • Myopia (nearsightedness): clear vision of close-up objects, with blurry distance vision
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness): clear vision of distant objects, with difficulty seeing nearby objects
  • Astigmatism: blurry near vision, distance vision, or both
  • Presbyopia: farsightedness caused by age-related loss of lens elasticity

Before your surgery, Dr. O’Day talks with you about the best type of intraocular lens to insert into your eye. Diverse types of lenses are available such as:

  • Monofocal lens (fixed focus): improves distance vision but may still require reading glasses
  • Monofocal lens (accommodating focus): responds to changes in eye muscles to adjust focus for near and distant objects
  • Multifocal lens: similar to eyeglasses with bifocal or progressive lenses; different areas of the lens have a different focus for near, medium, and far vision
  • Toric lenses: Different focusing powers in various areas of the lens correct for astigmatism