In years past, patients with blurred, decreased vision due to cataracts had just a few choices — who will I select as my surgeon and when will I have surgery?

In 2014, the goal of cataract surgery is not just to improve, but to optimize each person’s visual potential. “Most patients today have numerous options to help them to achieve outstanding vision at far, near and intermediate distances, in many cases without the need for full time spectacle correction,” explained Cataract and Glaucoma Specialist, James N. McManus, M.D., of The Eye Institute for Medicine & Surgery.

Instruments, methods, lens implants, and eye medications — all have advanced tremendously over the last several years. Probably the greatest improvement, however, has been in the area of lens implants, according to Cataract and Cornea Specialist, Christopher S. Shumake, M.D.

“At the Eye Institute, we take a custom approach in each case. Each patient receives a thorough explanation of our findings, and their post-procedural visual potential, including limitations. The patient and their family members are provided the options and given advice to help them make the best possible decisions that are most likely to result in improved vision and enhanced quality of life,” said Dr. McManus. “What a joy it is to have a patient tell us that he or she has not seen this well in 30 or 40 years.”

“In order to help patients select the best implant given their individual needs and circumstances, it is important for the surgeon to get to know the patient, and to ask questions that help us understand the patient’s visual needs, desires, and expected outcomes,” said Cataract and Cornea Specialist, Carrie A. Palmer, M.D.

Not everyone is a good candidate for these “high technology” lens implants. “The ideal candidate has no other serious eye diseases aside from cataracts, and also has reasonable expectations and understandings of what my colleagues and I can help them to achieve. There’s no lens that’s perfect in all circumstances for all patients,” adds Dr. Shumake.

People seeking optimized near vision (the ability to read without glasses following cataract surgery) as well as clear distance vision need to have patience, counsels Dr. McManus. Some of the implants used to achieve true multifocal capability (reading as well as distance correction without glasses) take several weeks to achieve maximum near vision capability. Restoration of distance vision occurs soon after surgery, reports Dr. McManus.

“The cataract surgeons of The Eye Institute have well over 50 years of combined experience and have performed more than 40,000 successful cataract surgeries,” said Jerry Orloff, CEO of the Eye Institute. Not surprisingly, many Space Coast area physicians choose Dr. McManus, Dr. Shumake and Dr. Palmer as their personal eye physicians and surgeons, as well as selecting them for their own patients and family members, adds Mr. Orloff. “It’s comforting for patients to know that they can choose the eye doctor that more physicians choose themselves,” said Mr. Orloff.

What is a cataract and how are cataracts removed?

Cataract is a term used to describe changes in the appearance and function of the natural lens inside of the human eye. When the natural lens becomes clouded due to aging, the use of certain medications (i.e. prednisone), the presence of certain diseases (i.e. diabetes), or trauma, the lens is said to be cataractous in appearance. The cataractous lens appears cloudy and may have deposits or changes in its shape or content that causes blurred or distorted visual images.

How is Cataract Surgery Performed?

With the patient comfortable and relaxed, the surgeon makes a tiny, three (3.0) millimeter incision into the clear cornea. Ultrasonic energy is used to break the cataract into tiny pieces, which are then gently vacuumed from the eye. After this residual lens material is removed, a new lens implant is placed in the eye. The operative wound is so small that sutures are rarely necessary. Because of the corneal incision, most patients can continue their Coumadin and other common blood thinners.

For more information regarding cataracts, cataract surgery or to schedule a consultation with Dr. McManus, Dr. Shumake, or Dr. Palmer at their Rockledge, Melbourne or Palm Bay offices, call (321) 722-4443.