The #1 Cataract Care and Surgery in Tucson, AZ
Has your vision become cloudy and dull over time? Do you experience glare and halos with bright lights or trouble seeing at night? These could be symptoms of the early stages of cataracts which occur when the natural lens of the eye hardens and becomes cloudy over time. If left untreated, cataracts can cause vision issues and eventually a complete loss of eyesight.
Cataracts can be treated effectively with eye surgery to replace your natural lens with an implantable ocular lens (IOL) which will help restore your vision and active lifestyle. Call our office today to schedule your consultation with an experienced surgeon!
Fellowship Trained & Board Certified Cataract Surgeons
Specializing in Refractive Cataract Surgery
The most advanced selection of IOLs for the best vision outcomes
Two Convenient Offices and a State of the art Ambulatory Surgery Center
8 Highly Qualified Doctors and over 30 years serving patients in Southern Arizona
If you’re in the Tucson and Oro Valley area, you will find an experienced eye surgeon at Fishkind, Bakewell, Maltzman & Hunter Eye Care and Surgery Center.
What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
Click on the Common Cataracts Symptoms below to read more:
Cloudy vision is the most common symptom of cataracts. Many people who suffer from this condition say that they feel as though they are looking out a dirty or foggy window.
Cataracts can make it difficult to see at night. This is especially true when you are driving. You may experience glare around headlights that worsens as the cataract progresses.
Cataracts can cause light sensitivity. If you find that you are relying on your sunglasses more often when it is sunny, it could be due to cataracts.
Cataracts can make reading difficult unless the light in the room is very bright.
Cataracts cause you to see halos around lights. If you are looking at a light and there are bright rings around it, cataracts could be the reason.p>
Cataracts can cause vision loss. This often results in the frequent need to change your eyeglass prescription.
Since cataract development is a gradual process, symptoms will appear and become worse over time. This condition is most prevalent in the elderly. It is recommended that people see a doctor if they experience flashes of light, sudden eye pain, or sudden headaches.
Cataract Eye Surgery in 4 Easy Steps For Tucson
Unless there is something extremely unusual about your eyes or your overall health, your cataract surgery will be performed as an outpatient surgery. This means that you will come in for the cataract surgery and go home the same day.
Your surgeon will conduct pre-operative measurements and discuss your lens options and desired vision outcomes at your initial evaluation.
The day of surgery, before you leave home, you will use eye drops to dilate your eye and start preparing it for the procedure. After your arrival at the surgery center, your eye surgeon will use local anesthesia drops to numb your eyes for surgery.
After your eye is dilated and prepared for surgery, the surgeon will begin your procedure while you are given conscious sedation instead of general anesthesia.
Once adequate anesthesia has been achieved, the area around the operative eye will be cleansed for sterility and a surgical drape will be placed. A small device known as a speculum will then be placed to keep your eye open during the procedure. There will be no discomfort.
A small incision is then made in the cornea, or clear window at the front of the eye, and a viscous gel is injected into the eye in order to maintain space and protect the other ocular structures during surgery. The “main” corneal incision is then carefully made using an extremely sharp and precise blade made of diamond. Next, a circular opening is created in the front of the thin membrane, or capsule, which surrounds the lens, and fluid is injected inside to separate the entire lens from its attachment to the capsule.
The cataractous lens is removed using phacoemulsification, the amazing technology behind modern cataract surgery. The phacoemulsification machine produces ultrasound waves within a tiny handpiece, which is inserted into the eye. This causes the metal tip of the instrument to vibrate very rapidly, up to 40,000 times each second, dissolving the cataract material which is then aspirated out of the eye.
Additional instruments are used to clean all cataracts from the lens capsule, which is then refilled with more viscous gel.
An artificial, permanent lens implant, made of a type of plastic, is then inserted into the capsular “bag,” taking the place of your natural lens. This implant, which helps focus the incoming light on your retina, is held in place by two haptics, or curved arms. Once the implant is in place, the incisions are closed, usually without stitches, and the surgery is complete.
Your eyes should start healing and your vision will improve within two to five days following your cataract surgery. At first, your vision is likely to be blurry but that blurriness will gradually become sharpened. You will be given an eye drop schedule and following it is vital to the success of the surgery and to reduce the possibility of infection post-operatively. You will be seen by your surgeon the day after your procedure and then have a follow-up visit within 10-14 days to check on the health of the eye and if necessary, to prepare for the second eye surgery. Very rarely problems may occur following surgery. One such problem or risk is the development of residual astigmatism following the surgery, which can be corrected and your surgeon will discuss the options with you.
You will return to our office the following day for a postoperative examination. The flap will be checked to assure that it is healing properly. If present, the contact lens will be removed at this time. Vision at this time is usually between 20/20 and 20/40, depending on the degree of refractive error corrected. Vision may continue to improve over the next few weeks before stabilizing fully. At this point, you should be able to go about your business as usual… with one exception- no more glasses or contact lenses!
How to Choose A Good Cataract Eye Surgeon in Tucson
As with all surgical procedures, you should thoroughly research your options to find the best surgeon for you. First, check to see if your medical insurance contracts with specific providers. The ophthalmology office will help determine your eligibility for surgical coverage when you are ready to proceed.
Second, find a facility that has high quality equipment and experienced surgeons and staff. Carefully research the historical experience of the eye surgeon you are considering.
Finally, verify that the surgeon offers a wide range of implantable ocular lenses such as Toric lenses for astigmatism, multifocal lenses, or light adjustable lenses. A skilled surgeon will offer the best technology available for the best vision outcomes.
5-Star Rated Cataracts Surgery in Tucson
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We are committed to providing our patients with the highest quality care. Our surgeons are highly experienced and skilled, and they use the latest technology to ensure that your surgery is successful. We also offer a variety of post-operative care services to help you recover quickly and comfortably.
If you are considering cataract surgery, we encourage you to contact Fishkind Bakewell, Maltzman, Hunter & Associates. We would be happy to answer any questions you have and help you choose the right procedure for your needs
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Why Our Facility Is a Great Eye Care Center for Your Eye Surgery
We know that you have a choice of several surgeons and locations for your Cataract surgery and our team of experts look forward to providing the highest quality care to ensure the success of your Cataract procedure. Our experienced surgeons, high-tech equipment, and personalized care provide you with the best outcomes for your vision.
Cataract Eye Surgery Questions & Answers
Specific genetic disorders can play a role in the development of cataracts. As the genetic disorder develops and progresses, it can create the right conditions for cataracts to form.
There are other contributing factors that lead to the development of cataracts: diabetes, smoking, obesity, eye injury, excessive alcohol, high blood pressure, prolonged exposure to certain medications, eye surgery, and age.
Nearly everyone develops cataracts over time, though the rate at which the lens undergoes these changes is quite variable. Some may note significant visual disturbances in their 40s, while others may live into their 80s and never be very bothered by their vision.
The reasons for these differences are not well understood. Genetics may play a part, with some simply more susceptible to cataract at an earlier age. Environmental factors, such as exposure to sunlight or certain diets, may one day be found to play a role, however current data regarding the effects of these elements are not conclusive.
No. Your eye surgeon will put anesthetic drops in your eyes prior to your procedure to ensure you feel no pain. If you feel discomfort after the procedure, we can prescribe drops to minimize your discomfort and expedite your healing. Most patients feel fine within a few days.
The implant can be chosen to focus your eye at any distance you desire. While most choose to focus at distance, some prefer to see most clearly at near, particularly if they have always been myopic, or nearsighted.
At Fishkind, Bakewell, Maltzman & Hunter we perform these measurements with the Zeiss IOL-Master, the most advanced, accurate device for this purpose, which uses a laser to scan the eye in just seconds.
While these calculations are extremely accurate in most cases, the expected results are not always achieved. Most patients obtain vision good enough to drive without glasses.
Rarely, the post-operative refraction (eyeglass prescription) will be significantly different than expected. In these unusual cases, additional surgery, including removal and replacement of the lens implant, may be required to achieve the desired result. The appearance of an implant in the eye at the end of surgery is shown right.
The majority of lens implants inserted during cataract surgery are considered ‘monofocal,’ meaning that they focus light at only one location, usually in the distance. This means that reading glasses will be required for close-up tasks such as reading- without them near vision will be blurred. Another option is the ‘multifocal’ lens implant. Such implants allow for clear vision at distance, as well as good vision at mid-range and near. Each type of lens has specific advantages and disadvantages. You can discuss these options with one of our physicians during your evaluation.
Once removed, a cataract does not return.
However, the backside of the lens capsule, which remains intact at the time of surgery in order to support the implant, can become cloudy over time. This opacification sometimes referred to as a “secondary cataract,” can affect vision much the way the cataract once did. If this occurs, a brief, painless laser procedure performed in the office can clear the opacity from the implant. The capsular opacification does not recur once this is performed.
In early life, most astigmatism is due to an irregular shape of the eye, in which the cornea is steeper in one meridian than the other. As we age, many develop astigmatism due to irregular thickening of the lens as cataracts develop. This latter form of astigmatism will disappear when a cataract is removed, however, any remaining corneal astigmatism will blur vision, increasing the likelihood that glasses will be necessary for clear vision postoperatively.
Fortunately, for those who desire the best possible uncorrected distance vision after surgery, astigmatism can be reduced or eliminated surgically at the time of the cataract operation. This is performed in one of two ways, depending upon the amount of astigmatism present prior to surgery. For lesser degrees of irregularity, extra incisions called “limbal relaxing incisions” can be made in the cornea using a very precise diamond blade. These incisions serve to flatten the steeper meridian of the cornea, making it even in all directions.
For larger amounts of correction, limbal relaxing incisions are not enough to overcome the irregularity. In such cases, a special lens implant known as a “toric IOL” can be placed in the eye. Like eyeglasses, which are crafted with cylindrical lenses placed in a specific axis to correct one’s particular degree of astigmatism, a toric implant with the correct cylindrical power is carefully rotated into the precise position within the eye to neutralize corneal astigmatism.
Many often ask if cataracts can be prevented. Given our current lack of understanding of their causes, the simple answer is no. Some eye doctors advocate the use of ultraviolet light-blocking sunglasses. While not definitive, some studies have suggested that ultraviolet light may be partly responsible for cataract progression, as well as for other eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.
The use of sunglasses may therefore help and certainly will not cause any harm. Similar advice might apply to antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E. While studies have produced conflicting information, some indicate that these vitamins may slow cataract growth. Speak with your medical doctor prior to starting any high-dose vitamin program.
The majority of lens implants inserted during cataract surgery are considered ‘monofocal,’ meaning that they focus light at only one location, usually in the distance. This means that reading glasses will be required for close-up tasks such as reading- without them near vision will be blurred. Another option is the ‘multifocal’ lens implant. Such implants allow for clear vision at distance, as well as good vision at mid-range and near. Each type of lens has specific advantages and disadvantages.
Standard monofocal IOLs
The majority of IOLs implanted today are of this type. These implants have a single focal length, providing clearest vision at a set distance and requiring glasses for other distances. Most patients elect far distance correction, allowing clear unaided vision for activities such as driving, golf, and even television viewing, but generally requiring eyeglasses for near tasks such as computer viewing or reading. Many people are quite accustomed to this type of vision prior to surgery, as reading glasses become necessary as presbyopia develops after about 40 years of age. If desired, however, IOLs can be implanted to provide good near vision, with glasses worn for distance, as might be desired by someone who has always been myopic (nearsighted). This is ultimately a personal decision, dependent on individual lifestyle considerations.
Advanced IOL Options
While most patients are quite happy with the vision provided by standard monofocal IOLs, some are interested in a surgical option that provides good unaided vision at both distance and near.
For those looking to minimize dependence on postoperative glasses or contact lenses, a number of options now exist. These are detailed below.
- Monovision: this describes the use of standard monofocal IOLs in each eye, with one eye focused at a distance and the other at near. A disadvantage of monovision is diminished depth perception. Additionally, some are unable to tolerate this arrangement due to the imbalance between the eyes, and surgical monovision is only recommended for those patients who have comfortably and effectively achieved good results with contact lens monovision prior to surgery. For those who have succeeded with contact lens monovision, this is often a very good surgical option.
- Multifocal IOLs: These lenses allow each eye to focus at both distance and near, somewhat like bifocal or progressive eyeglass lenses. There are presently three main types of multifocal IOLs.
- Non-accommodating IOLs: Like standard monofocal IOLs, these lenses are implanted and remain in a fixed position within the eye. They rely on concentric rings or zones within the optical portion of the implant, allowing light from different distances to be properly focused upon the retina. Today, two such implants have been approved by the FDA for implantation in the United States.
- Tecnis Multifocal®: Made by Johnson & Johnson, the Tecnis Multifocal implant is a ‘diffractive’ multifocal IOL. A series of concentric ridges on the lens surface serves to focus light from different points, providing good vision at both far and near. The lens can also correct a moderate degree of astigmatism. Studies indicate that 86% of patients function independently of glasses at all distances at one year, and 99% see 20/40 or better at distance at one year. Glare and halos around lights at night are reported by some patients and are considered very bothersome by about 5%. There is usually an adjustment period of several weeks to months while your brain learns to function with the implant, with most patients reporting complete comfort with their vision within 6 to 12 weeks. In our experience, near vision with this lens is quite good for computer use and reading normally sized print. The assistance of reading glasses may be required for very small print.
- ReSTOR®: Made by Alcon, the ReSTOR implant is an ‘apodized diffractive’ multifocal IOL. A series of concentric ridges on the lens surface serve to focus light from different points, providing good vision at both far and near. In clinical studies, 80% of patients receiving the ReSTOR IOL reported that they never wear glasses for any activities. 94% said they would have the IOLs implanted again, if given the choice. Glare and halos around lights at night are reported by some patients, and are considered very bothersome by about 5%. There is usually an adjustment period of several weeks to months while your brain learns to function with the implant, with most patients reporting complete comfort with their vision within 6 to 12 weeks. In our experience, near vision with this lens is quite good for reading, including small print. The assistance of glasses may be required for computer use and other tasks at arm’s length.
Accommodating IOLs: Unlike non-accommodating multifocal IOLs, which are fixed in position and utilize zones or rings to achieve their variable focus, true accommodating IOLs shift position slightly within the eye, mimicking the natural ability of the human lens to change focus. There is currently one such IOL approved by the FDA for implantation in the United States.
Crystalens®: Made by Bausch & Lomb, the Crystalens IOL is a true accommodating implant. Small flexible hinges within this implant actually allow it to shift forward slightly within the eye when effort is made to change focus. In this manner, the crystalens can provide a range of vision from distance to near, much like the normal human lens. In studies, 98.4% of patients receiving the crystalens were able to read the newspaper or a phone book without glasses, and 100% were able to see computer screens or other objects at arm’s length. 98.4% read 20/40 or better at distance. There is usually an adjustment period of several weeks to months until final visual results are achieved. Unlike non-accommodative multifocal IOLs, this lens design does not commonly cause nighttime glare or halos. In our experience, near vision with this lens is best for computer use and other tasks at arm’s length. Reading glasses may be required for prolonged reading or reading small print.
Extended Depth of Focus IOL: The Johnson & Johnson Tecnis Symfony® lens is the first “extended depth of focus” implant available for patients undergoing cataract surgery or clear lens extraction. This implant provides excellent distance and intermediate-range vision, as well as modest near vision, while maintaining excellent contrast and brightness. In studies, 85% of patients wore glasses none or a little bit of the time. While some haloing and flare around lights at night is common with this lens, the majority of patients report these symptoms as mild and of minimal concern. The implant can also correct a moderate degree of astigmatism. Those looking to minimize their dependence upon eyeglasses after surgery should consider this implant.
You can discuss these options with one of our physicians during your evaluation.