Cataract surgery opens up a bright, clear world.
Special to the Jewish News
y view of the world changed
in May when I had cataract
surgery — both eyes. Although
I noticed some decline in my vision over
the past few years, especially when reading,
it wasn't the removal of the cataracts that
made the very huge difference for me. It
was the lens that was implanted during the
surgery that continues to bring me daily
I wore my first pair of glasses at age 6. I
was very nearsighted and had astigmatism
in both eyes. It was difficult for me to focus
on anything — everything was blurred.
A couple weeks following cataract sur-
gery with the lens implants that corrected
most of my astigmatism, it occurred to
me that I must have learned to play golf
primarily by feel over the past 20 years
because, now, the ball was in focus for the
Eye surgeon Les Grosinger, M.D., men-
tioned my developing cataracts 12 year ago
during a routine eye exam. Not realizing
how much my vision had been restricted
during this time, I thought about cataract
surgery as a way to improve my vision so I
wouldn't have to wear contact lenses dur-
ing physical activity, like biking, tennis or
I rationalized that I should have cataract
surgery with the lens implant this spring
because I was relatively young and in good
health. And it worked!
A cataract is the clouding of the nor-
mally clear and transparent lens of the eye.
"Clouding of the lens may start at any age,
but it's uncommon before the age of 40,"
says Neal Krasnick, M.D., ophthalmologist
and cataract surgeon in St. Clair Shores and
"Symptoms of cataracts may include
blurred vision, difficulty with glare, espe-
cially at night, dull color vision, increased
nearsightedness and difficulty reading,
even with prescription glasses. Everyone
eventually gets cataracts, but there are so
many lens options available today that
patients, with their physician's help, can
decide on the lens that works best."
The standard cataract surgery, gener-
ally an outpatient procedure, takes place
in a hospital or in an ambulatory surgical
center. The most common cataract surgery
today is a process called phacoemulsifica-
tion. It takes less than 15 minutes and
usually requires only minimal sedation
and numbing eye drops. Stitches are not
required and an eye patch isn't worn after
Using an operating microscope, the
surgeon makes a very small incision in the
surface of the eye so that a thin ultrasound
probe can be inserted. Using ultrasonic
vibrations to dissolve (phacoemulsify) the
clouded lens, the tiny fragmented pieces are
then suctioned out through the same probe.
Once the cataract is removed, an artificial
lens is put in its place.
You can't see or feel the implanted lens. It
requires no care and becomes a permanent
part of your eye.
Although no cataract surgery promises
perfect vision as an end result, there is a
variety of lenses available today to accom-
modate most vision conditions.
The monofocal lens is the most common
implanted lens. Most health insurance poli-
cies provide coverage for this lens, which
provides distance vision as well as good
near vision for some. Reading glasses are
often required for others. This lens does not
Astigmatism is distorted and blurry
vision because the cornea is oblong shaped
(like a football) rather than shaped like a
dome. When the cornea isn't shaped cor-
rectly, it can't focus an image onto the retina
properly and the result is a blurred image.
I had absolutely no idea that mine was
a blurred world until a Toric lens was
implanted in each eye during cataract sur-
gery. The Toric lens corrected most of my
astigmatism and provided quality distance
vision. I just use reading glasses these days.
New Vision on page B26
September 25 • 2008