Cataract

We can help improve your vision and restore your quality of life

When the lens of your eye becomes cloudy with age, you may have a cataract. Your eye lens consists mostly of protein and water. As you age, the protein can clump in a small area.

Over time, it grows larger and decreases your vision. This change interferes with the passage of light through the lens to the retina (light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye). As a result, your vision becomes blurry.

Cataracts may begin in your 40’s or 50’s, but they typically do not cause symptoms at first. According to the National Eye Institute, more than 50 percent of people in the U.S. have a cataract by age 80.

Fortunately, Indiana University Health ophthalmologists can treat cataracts to improve your vision and restore your quality of life. Rest assured, your physician will care for you as a whole person, not a number.

Symptoms

Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes. Your symptoms may include:

  • Cloudy vision
  • Glare or halo around objects
  • Double vision
  • Reduced night vision
  • Decreased color intensity
  • Yellowish or brownish tint to vision

Cataract Risk Factors

Apart from aging, the following risk factors can also contribute to cataracts:

  • Eye injuries
  • Diabetes
  • Surgery for other eye problems
  • Radiation exposure
  • Smoking
  • Excessive sun exposure

In the early stages of cataracts, eyeglasses or contact lenses may help. In advanced cases, vision loss can make it difficult to perform daily activities such as reading and driving. In fact, cataracts can block nearly all of your vision, allowing you to see only light and dark.

Overview

Cataracts may begin in your 40’s or 50’s, but they typically do not cause symptoms at first. According to the National Eye Institute, more than 50 percent of people in the U.S. have a cataract by age 80.

Fortunately, Indiana University Health ophthalmologists can treat cataracts to improve your vision and restore your quality of life. Rest assured, your physician will care for you as a whole person, not a number.

Symptoms

Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes. Your symptoms may include:

  • Cloudy vision
  • Glare or halo around objects
  • Double vision
  • Reduced night vision
  • Decreased color intensity
  • Yellowish or brownish tint to vision

Cataract Risk Factors

Apart from aging, the following risk factors can also contribute to cataracts:

  • Eye injuries
  • Diabetes
  • Surgery for other eye problems
  • Radiation exposure
  • Smoking
  • Excessive sun exposure

In the early stages of cataracts, eyeglasses or contact lenses may help. In advanced cases, vision loss can make it difficult to perform daily activities such as reading and driving. In fact, cataracts can block nearly all of your vision, allowing you to see only light and dark.

Having cataracts does not mean you have to live with reduced vision. With the largest network of specialty physician practices in Indiana, IU Health ophthalmologists will help you regain your eyesight. Your ophthalmologist will want you to get back to your life, and participate fully in your work, hobbies and other daily activities.

Regular comprehensive eye examinations can identify cataracts and determine whether you have decreased vision. Your ophthalmologist will work with you to determine when you need cataract surgery. He or she will provide personalized treatment based on your specific needs.

IU Health ophthalmologists offer leading edge treatment of cataracts. As part of the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute brings together an international team of world-class researchers in the fields of eye and vision research. Additionally, IU Health residency and fellowship training programs ensure that the next generation of ophthalmologists delivers excellent care.

We treat a cataract by removing it through surgery. We perform one of two procedures to do so.

Small Incision Surgery

In this outpatient surgery, we make a small incision (cut) in the cornea (transparent, dome-shaped covering at the front of the eye). We then break up the lens using a small probe that sends out ultrasound waves. We remove the pieces using suction. In most cases, we insert a synthetic implant to replace your natural lens.

The entire procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes and is the most common type of cataract surgery. You receive a topical or local anesthetic so that you do not feel pain during the operation, and you can usually go back to most normal activities within a day or so.

Full recovery can take several weeks. One version of this procedure requires an incision four to six millimeters long that can be closed with as little as one stitch. Another technique uses an even smaller cut and does not require any stitches.

You may not even need an eye patch during your recovery from small incision cataract surgery. If you need surgery in both eyes, we will schedule a second procedure for one to two months after the first.

Extracapsular surgery

Less commonly used, this procedure makes a longer incision and removes the cataract in one piece.

Your physician will close the incision with stitches. Extracapsular surgery treats advanced cataracts, too thick to break up with ultrasound. The procedure typically takes about 30 minutes. Your physician will use a topical or local anesthetic so that you do not feel pain.

You can usually go back to most normal activities within a day or so, although full recovery requires several weeks. You may need an eye patch for a few days after surgery.

Treatment

Having cataracts does not mean you have to live with reduced vision. With the largest network of specialty physician practices in Indiana, IU Health ophthalmologists will help you regain your eyesight. Your ophthalmologist will want you to get back to your life, and participate fully in your work, hobbies and other daily activities.

Regular comprehensive eye examinations can identify cataracts and determine whether you have decreased vision. Your ophthalmologist will work with you to determine when you need cataract surgery. He or she will provide personalized treatment based on your specific needs.

IU Health ophthalmologists offer leading edge treatment of cataracts. As part of the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute brings together an international team of world-class researchers in the fields of eye and vision research. Additionally, IU Health residency and fellowship training programs ensure that the next generation of ophthalmologists delivers excellent care.

We treat a cataract by removing it through surgery. We perform one of two procedures to do so.

Small Incision Surgery

In this outpatient surgery, we make a small incision (cut) in the cornea (transparent, dome-shaped covering at the front of the eye). We then break up the lens using a small probe that sends out ultrasound waves. We remove the pieces using suction. In most cases, we insert a synthetic implant to replace your natural lens.

The entire procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes and is the most common type of cataract surgery. You receive a topical or local anesthetic so that you do not feel pain during the operation, and you can usually go back to most normal activities within a day or so.

Full recovery can take several weeks. One version of this procedure requires an incision four to six millimeters long that can be closed with as little as one stitch. Another technique uses an even smaller cut and does not require any stitches.

You may not even need an eye patch during your recovery from small incision cataract surgery. If you need surgery in both eyes, we will schedule a second procedure for one to two months after the first.

Extracapsular surgery

Less commonly used, this procedure makes a longer incision and removes the cataract in one piece.

Your physician will close the incision with stitches. Extracapsular surgery treats advanced cataracts, too thick to break up with ultrasound. The procedure typically takes about 30 minutes. Your physician will use a topical or local anesthetic so that you do not feel pain.

You can usually go back to most normal activities within a day or so, although full recovery requires several weeks. You may need an eye patch for a few days after surgery.

Patient Stories for Cataract

EyeSmart

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers details on the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts.

Resources

EyeSmart

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers details on the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts.