The USC Roski Eye Institute’s cataract surgeons provide the latest treatments in cataract removal. A cataract can form through clouding of the lens, which can hinder light from entering the eye resulting in eventual vision loss. Cataracts are irreversible though they can only be surgically removed and replaced with a lens implant. Our cataract surgeons specialize in the most innovative cataract procedures and state-of the-art technology to restore or improve your vision.
Conditions We Treat
- Dislocated Intraocular Lenses
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is the clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye, which prevents light entering the eye from being focused properly on the retina. Cataracts are a normal part of the aging process and can begin to affect the clarity of vision as early as age 50. In fact, most people will develop cataracts later in life.
Early changes may not disturb vision, but over time, cataracts will result in blurred, fuzzy, or cloudy vision, difficulty reading, and difficulty driving at night due to sensitivity to light and glare. People with advanced cataracts often say they feel as if they’re looking through a waterfall or a piece of wax paper.
Currently, there is no medical treatment to reverse or prevent the development of cataracts. Once they form, the only way to achieve clear vision again is through cataract surgery. In your parents’ or grandparents’ day, cataract surgery was considered quite risky, required a lengthy hospital stay, and was usually postponed for as long as possible. Today, cataract surgery is a comfortable outpatient procedure that allows patients to avoid the inconvenience and expense of a hospital stay. In fact, most patients’ vision recovers well enough so that they may drive as quickly as the day after surgery.
Cataract surgery is considered to be one of the safest and most successful procedures performed in medicine today. The surgery involves creating a microscopic incision through which the cataract is removed and a foldable intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted to replace the clouded lens. This small incision seals itself naturally and allows for comfortable and rapid healing.
In addition to aging, injuries sustained to the eye, post-surgical complications, diseases like glaucoma or diabetes, smoking as well as excessive sun exposure are just some of the other major causes of cataract formation. Patients with cataracts may experience blurred, double, or cloudy vision, may have trouble distinguishing colors, and even experience halos around bright light. Generally a cataract diagnosis can be made through a comprehensive eye exam, which includes visual acuity test, slit lamp examination and a dilated eye examination.
To learn more about cataract diagnosis and treatment options, please visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Treatment for Cloudy Vision
Cataract surgery entails performing a lens exchange—replacing the cloudy cataract lens with a clear lens implant. The lens implant is made of a plastic material that is not harmful to the eye. There are two major categories of lens implants: standard and premium. Standard lens implants only correct vision for distance. Patients will require reading glasses to see things up close following implantation of standard lens implants. Premium lens implants correct vision for near, intermediate, and distance vision. Premium lenses can also correct for astigmatism. Therefore, patients generally do not have to wear eyeglasses for most activities following implantation of premium lens implants. It is important to note, however, that given the variability of the healing process from one person to the next, some individuals do require some form of spectacle correction even after premium lens implantation. In addition to standard lenses, we also offer our patients a large selection of premium lenses that are customizable. These include:
- Accommodative Lenses
The personalized lens implants provide optimal visual outcome, decreasing the likelihood of eyeglass prescriptions post-cataract surgery. Our surgeons use the most advanced vision technology available, an aberrometer (a computer system), which precisely measures the power of the lens implant at the time of surgery.
Our cataract surgeons are fellowship trained in subspecialties areas like cornea and glaucoma. This additional training allows for more comprehensive evaluation and also can minimize issues that may arise from corneal or glaucoma complications.
A minimally invasive laser technique may also be offered as an alternative to traditional cataract surgery. Femtosecond laser cataract surgery (custom laser cataract surgery) procedure allows for more precision in lens removal and gives surgeons the opportunity to treat corneal astigmatism at the time of cataract surgery. Glaucoma procedures may also be conducted alongside cataract surgery using the femtosecond laser technology, benefiting patients greatly as it may decrease the use of drops, recovery time and exposure to general anesthesia.
Our cataract service also offers treatment for dislocated intraocular lenses.
Custom Laser Cataract Surgery
Custom laser cataract surgery refers to not only removing the cataract using the Femtosecond cataract laser, but also performing additional procedures at the time of the cataract surgery and/or replacing the cataract with an IOL that can reduce dependence of glasses or bifocals and enhance vision. For most cataract patients, life without reading glasses or bifocals is something they either experienced when they were very young or they just dreamed about for most of their lives.
Custom laser cataract surgery goes beyond traditional cataract surgery by also managing astigmatism and/or replacing the cataract with an IOL to correct presbyopia and astigmatism in an effort to reduce or eliminate your need for glasses or bifocals. It is important to note that insurance and Medicare cover traditional cataract surgery, but they do not cover the testing or advanced IOL options for custom laser cataract surgery.
The vast majority of patients who chose a presbyopia correcting IOL report they can read a book, work on a computer, drive a car – day and night – and play golf or tennis with increased freedom from glasses. Learning that you have a cataract can cause concern, but once you understand how your vision may be improved, you may actually have reason to be excited.
Cataract diagnosis, consultation, and treatment from the USC Roski Eye Institute are only a phone call away at 323-442-6335. All of our physicians are American board certified and fellowship trained subspecialists. Our skilled ophthalmologists have access to leading treatment techniques and the results of cutting edge research in the field of cataracts. Whether you have been struggling with cataracts for years or are only now beginning to feel the effects of the condition, we have the skills and expertise for your successful cataract removal.
Please visit our doctors page for summaries of the basic/translational and clinical research being conducted by our clinicians.
Next, read about our corneal and external disease services.