By Dr. Allen Zieker Evolution is a reality in the field of cataract surgery. Fifty years ago, cataract surgery was risky with the chance of infection, detached retina, and systemic complications because of the enforced weeks-long bed rest after surgery. The safety of cataract surgery today has turned a once-risky procedure, reserved for the significantly visually handicapped, into a viable option for eligible patients experiencing difficulty driving at night because of glare, reading small print on television, etc. Now the risks of infection and detached retina are extremely remote with the use of microscopes and improved surgical techniques.
Originally, patients would have the cataract removed and their only option was thick “coke bottle” glasses. Contact lenses were later developed with all the attendant drawbacks and aggravations. Pioneers then developed intraocular lens implants, replacing the cloudy lens with a clear artificial lens. Success in the past meant adequate vision for distance, but significant eyeglass prescriptions with emphasis on astigmatism correction were often required. Today’s standard lens implant is proven to be safe and effective.
While the modern standard implant offers good distance vision, surgical techniques and implants also exist to diminish astigmatism, help with both far and intermediate (computer distance) vision, or aid with both distance and reading. Modern, refractive cataract surgery requires the surgeon to be familiar with both astigmatism surgery and all advanced premium lenses, designed to significantly diminish dependency on glasses for both distance and near or intermediate vision—something not available in years past.
So, what used to take weeks in the hospital now only takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours in a surgery center, with the actual procedure usually lasting less than 15 minutes! Choices await you at Ophthalmic Consultants of the Capital Region, call us at 518-438-5273 or visit us at ophthalmicconsultants.com to schedule an appointment. Dr. Allen Zieker has practiced as a board certified ophthalmologist for more than 33 years. Working with cataract patients is his passion; last year alone he performed more than 1,500 cataract surgeries.