A cataract is a progressive clouding of the natural lens in your eye. People with advanced cataracts often say they feel as if they are looking through a light fog or a piece of waxed paper.
No medication, laser treatment, or exercise regimen can make a cataract disappear. The only way to eliminate a cataract is through cataract surgery, a microsurgical procedure in which the old clouded lens is removed through a tiny surgical incision and replaced with a synthetic intraocular lens (IOL). The exact power of the new, implanted lens is determined ahead of time by a precise measurement of the eye.
The procedure begins with a single tiny incision, one so small it needs no suture to heal. Through the incision, an ultrasonic microsurgical instrument is inserted that breaks the cloudy lens into pieces. These tiny pieces are then vacuumed out of the eye and the new lens is then implanted.
A certain number of patients can develop a film that is cloudy behind the new intraocular lens that is commonly referred to as a secondary cataract or a posterior subcapsular cataract. This thin membrane can be opened using a laser after the eye has been dilated with medications. This procedure generally takes only one or two minutes. Generally only 10-15% of patients that have cataract surgery require this type of procedure referred to as a Yag capsulotomy.
The laser has been getting a lot of media attention when it comes to performing refractive procedures on the cornea so that glasses are not necessary. Not everyone is a good candidate for refractive laser and a thorough examination to determine if laser would be appropriate and safe is required for every patient wanting PRK ( Photo Refractive Keratectomy), LASEK( LASer Epithelial Keratomileusis) or LASIK( Laser ASsisted Intrastromal Keratoplasty). During these laser procedures the curvature of the cornea is changed and this will change the power that is needed in the glasses to allow for clear vision. In most cases the need for glasses can be completely eliminated.