Cataract Surgery in Chicago, IL
WHAT IS CATARACT?
A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens in your eye. In a normal eye, light passes through your transparent lens to your retina which transforms this light into nerve signals which are sent to your brain. As a cataract develops, the image the retina sends to your brain becomes cloudy, thus impairing your vision. Cataracts typically develop slowly and don’t disturb your eyesight or cause pain in early stages. However, as your clouding progresses, the cataract eventually interferes with your vision and you will need to visit someone like the eye care specialists at Kraff Eye to understand your options.
Much like the lens of a camera, the eye’s lens functions to focus light entering the pupil on to the retina. The retina is a thin membrane in the back of the eye. The retina functions like film in a camera and sends what the eye sees on to the brain through the optic nerve. A cataract can be compared to a dirty camera lens, which produces blurry photographs when used in photography. Like a dirty camera lens, a human lens with a developed cataract may have several visual disturbances; including blurring, haziness, glare, difficulty judging colors, and eventually significant loss of vision in the eye.
WHY DO PEOPLE DEVELOP CATARACTS?
Nearly everyone develops cataracts over time, though the rate at which the lens undergoes these changes is quite variable. Some individuals 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 in cataract progression. However, current data regarding the effects of these elements are not conclusive.
While most cataracts are age-related, some are not. Some people are born with cataracts. Others may develop cataracts due to illness or disease, trauma, or use of certain medications. For example, those on chronic corticosteroids such as prednisone can develop cataracts. By understanding your full medical history, your doctor can determine whether your cataracts are related to any of these factors.
HOW ARE CATARACTS TREATED?
Currently, the only treatment for cataracts is surgery. Often many ask if cataracts can be prevented. Given our current lack of understanding of their causes, the simple answer is no. While not definitive, some studies have suggested that ultraviolet light may be partly responsible for cataract progression. Some eye doctors advocate the use of ultraviolet light-blocking sunglasses to decrease the progression of cataracts. 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.
CATARACT SURGERY PROCEDURE
Cataract surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. Patients report minimal, if any, discomfort because of the latest techniques and technologies used. Stiches are seldom necessary. Recovery, both physical and visual, is rapid. Many patients drive and return to their usual level of activity the day following surgery.
The actual surgery is performed using Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC), which makes patients sleepy and relaxed throughout the procedure. Once adequate sedation has been achieved, the area around the operative eye will be cleaned. A device will be used to keep the eye open during surgery. Dr. Kraff will make two small incision in the cornea, the clear tissue over the colored part of the eye and iris. Through one of the incisions, a circular opening will be created on the front membrane of the lens, which is called the capsule. A fluid is then injected inside the capsule to separate the attachment of the lens from the membrane. The “cataract” is then removed using phacoemulsification. The phacoemulsification instrument produces ultrasonic waves leading to very rapid vibrations. The vibrations break up the cataract and the particles are removed from the eye. After all the cataract is removed from the eye, an artificial but permanent plastic implant is inserted into the capsule. The implant helps focus the incoming light onto the retina to achieve the best vision possible. Once the implant is set in place, the incision is closed, normally without the help of stiches and the surgery is completed.
CATARACT SURGEON VIDEO
RECOVERY AFTER CATARACT SURGERY
It is a same day procedure. Patients go home and return to the office the next day to remove the patch. Most patients see well when the patch is removed. Most restrictions are lifted by week 1 and healing will continue for the first 3 months, but in most cases, it heals within the first 30 days.
AM I READY FOR CATARACT SURGERY?
Patients with cataracts often complain of difficulty reading or performing close-up work, trouble driving- especially at night due to glare and starbursts around lights, or difficulty following a golf ball. Cataract surgery may be right for you if you experience any of the visual disturbances of cataracts including visually significant blurriness, haziness, glare, difficulties judging colors and/or decreases in vision. If any of your work or activities of daily life are affected by poor vision, a complete eye examination will help your physician confirm if the cause of your visual problems are related to cataracts.
PRE-OPERATIVE MEASUREMENTS TO DETERMINE THE INTRAOCULAR LENS IMPLANT (IOL)
Prior to the surgery, you will have several measurements performed at Kraff Eye Institute. These measurements help Dr. Kraff select the strength of the lens implant. The implant can be chosen to focus your eye at the distance you desire. Most people do choose to have the focus sharpest in the distance.
WHAT IOL IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Dr. Kraff will recommend an intraocular implant based on your lifestyle, measurements gathered at the pre-operative exam and eye health. There are two categories of IOL: monofocal and multifocal. A ‘Monofocal’ lens, would help focus the image at one distance, normally the far distance is the preferred distance. Reading glasses would be required for close-up tasks like reading and computer. Without reading glasses, task and objects will be blurred up close through arm’s length. Another option is ‘multifocal’ lens implant. The images in the distance will be clear and the near and intermediate would be pretty good. Most can function without glasses for distance or most near tasks with a multifocal implant option.
Astigmatism is a normal condition of the eyes. Astigmatism is a result of two different corrections being needed to achieve the best vision for a person. It affects how the light reached the back of the eye. If uncorrected it can distort vision by causing the images to be spread out on the back of the eye. People tend to describe uncorrected astigmatism as stretched, shadows, haloes around lights. Uncorrected people may experience squinting, fatigue and strain. Glasses and contact lenses can help correct for astigmatism. However, if astigmatism is detected during your pre-op exam Dr. Kraff may recommend an astigmatism correcting IOL to produce your best possible vision by reducing or eliminating the need for distance glasses or contact lenses. The IOL to correct astigmatism is called a toric IOL and it works by having the multiple corrections to achieve a sharp image for the patient.
INTRAOCULAR LENS IMPLANTS (IOLS)
Cataract surgery is a safe and effective way of restoring vision, allowing a person to return to doing the activities of their daily life. When a cataract or lens is removed, an IOL is nearly always inserted to restore vision. Today many IOL options do exist. Technology continues to advance and Dr. Kraff likes to stay abreast of the latest and best technology available. Dr. Kraff will tailor each patient’s postoperative vision to their individual needs.
STANDARD MONOFOCAL IOL
The majority of IOLs implanted today are standard IOL. These lenses have a single focal length to providing clear vision at one distance and will require glasses for other distances. Most patients choose to have sharp distance vision and wear glasses for computer and reading vision. Prior to surgery, many individuals are used to not wearing glasses for the distance but wearing reading glasses for near tasks. The end goal is unique to each person and the lifestyle they would like after cataract surgery.
ADVANCED IOL OPTIONS
Most patients are happy with the vision they can achieve with standard IOLs; however, some individuals would like to explore the option of limiting spectacle use after cataract surgery. There are several options which do exist for patients. The details will be found below.
- Monovision: describes the state of when one eye focuses on the distance and the other eye focuses on near objects. Some people have had monovision contact lenses and they are a great candidate for the IOLs to be set for Monovision. If monovision is decided, then a monofocal lens will be used in each eye but set for different areas to be focused.
- Toric IOLs: correct corneal astigmatism to help sharpen the image in the distance and would allow a person more flexibility with reading glasses. Uncorrected astigmatism tends to cause images to be stretched, have shadows, haloes around lights, overall distortion and fatigue.
- Multifocal IOLs: Theses allow each eye to focus clearly in the distance and intermediate and give modest near clarity. These do not work exactly like graduated bifocals or progressive addition lenses. The person will not need to move their head around to achieve the best vision. For prolong near work a portion of people may feel more comfortable with reading glasses on, but most will be able to see a text message, who is calling on your phone or check a price tag without pulling out reading glasses.
WHICH IMPLANT IS THE RIGHT IMPLANT?
Many patients feel choosing an implant may be an overwhelming decision. Dr. Kraff does take several factors into account when recommending an IOL for a patient. These factors include but are not limited to pre-operative test results, overall ocular health and the actives of a person’s daily life. He will recommend what he feels will be best for patients needs. In some cases, a person may want a more advanced lens option, but they may not qualify for an advanced lens due to ocular health conditions or the activities they engage in.
The standard monofocal IOL is the option insurance companies consider medically necessary and would be paid for by insurance along with the procedure. The Advanced IOL options are viewed by insurance companies and Medicare as a refractive surgical option, resulting in an out-of-pocket expense for the IOL and the calculations. The procedure is still covered. Due to the extra expense of an advanced IOL, Dr. Kraff will not recommend the upgraded option if it will fail to benefit the patient.
Only Dr. Kraff can determine whether you are a candidate for a multifocal IOL, after performing a thorough eye exam with pre-operative testing.
While the calculations tend to be very accurate, rarely the expected results are not achieved. Most patients obtain vision good enough to drive without glasses. If a patient feels vision is not sharp, a glasses prescription may be issued to help enhance vision. Rarely, other steps will need to be taken.
Cost of cataract surgery
Most major medical insurances will cover a portion of a cataract procedure. If the patient has any secondary insurances, those will sometimes pick up the remaining balance. Otherwise the patient is responsible for that balance following their surgery. The cost of a specialty lens will not be covered by insurance and will be an out of pocket expense for the patient. The cost for a specialty lens varies based on the type of lens that Dr. Kraff recommends. The exact cost will be discussed when you’re here for your cataract consultation.
The Kraff Eye Institute partners with CareCredit to help patients who want to finance the out of pocket cost of a cataract procedure. When here for your initial consultation, our Cataract Consultant with discuss with you what payment plans are available.
Please call our office at (312) 444-1111 for more details.
Reviews for Cataract services at Kraff Eye, Chicago
Superior care, professionals, knowledgeable doctors; had cataract surgery in June and July. Dr. Colman Kraff and his staff are consummate leaders in the field of vision care. They answered all my questions, provided immediate surgical care for first surgery that was conducted three floors down from his office. Surgery was so easy that I still can’t believe it.DeeBee B.
I just had cataract surgery in February. Dr. Kraff was extremely professional and knowledgeable. Explained the entire procedure as it was happening to keep my mind off it. I had blurry vision for about an hour but on the train ride home it started to improve. After I woke up the next day, I could see perfectly.Jarek N.
I had such a positive experience at Kraff Eye Institute. The staff are all so polite and made me feel at ease the day of my cataract procedure. Thank you!Mira C.
From start to finish this place was EXCELLENT! Everything was perfect. Staff was very well informed about the procedure and no one ever made us feel pressured into getting the procedure done. Thank you to an amazing staff and thank you Dr. Kraff for everything!!Stephanie G.
Incredibly positive experience from Dr Kraff and team! From the initial consultation to the follow-ups, everybody was incredibly helpful and informative. I love waking up with perfect vision now and the recovery time has been much quicker than expectedAdam D.
CATARACT Treatment frequently asked questions
What Are The Symproms of Cataracts?
- Typically, cataract patients will exhibit some of the following symptoms:
- Cloudy or blurred vision
- Difficulty with night vision
- Colors seem faded or yellowish
- Double vision in one eye
- Frequent changes in your contact or eyeglass prescriptions
- Halos or glare from headlights, lamps or sunlight
- Need for brighter reading light
What Causes Cataracts?
- Your eye lens consists mostly of water and protein. As you age, some of the protein in your eyes may start to bind or clump together to cloud a small area of your lens. In its initial cataract stages, you may not notice a significant change in your vision. Over time, the opaque protein will usually grow larger and make it more difficult for you to see.
How long does cataract surgery take?
- 30 minutes
Is cataract surgery painful?
- The surgery is not painful, occasionally patient make have bruising and tenderness after the procedure.
WILL CATARACTS RETURN OR WILL I NEED ADDITIONAL SURGERIES?
Once a cataract is removed, it will not return. Additional surgery will not be needed. Since the capsule stays intact, the posterior portion may become cloudy. The cloudiness is called a posterior capsular opacity (PCO). If a PCO does occur, a simple procedure will be done in the office with a laser to blast away the cloudy portion of the capsule. There is no pain or discomfort with the in-office procedure if it is needed.
About Your Doctor
Dr. Colman Kraff
Specializing in Refractive Eye Surgeries for over 25 years
Dr. Colman Kraff is one of the most experienced and skilled cataract surgeons in the world.
He has made it his goal to provide safe and effective procedures for all his patients. While here for your consultation, Dr. Kraff will speak with you to assess what your expectations are and then recommend what he feels is the safest options for you.
Schedule CATARACT Consultation
To schedule an initial cataract consultation please call our office at (312) 444-1111. Cataract consultations are billed through your major medical insurance, so please check with your plan to see if Dr. Colman Kraff is in your network.
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