Cataract Treatment

You are born with a beautiful and clear natural lens inside of your eye. Much like a camera lens, this crystalline lens has the ability to alter its power in order to focus on objects at varying distances. Over several decades, the crystalline lens becomes cloudy and rigid, losing its ability to focus on near targets – a condition known as presbyopia, which is treated with the use of reading glasses. From then on, the lens is called a cataract and gradually becomes more opaque until it causes symptoms that are bothersome to the patient, such as a decrease in vision or glare at night (especially with driving). At this stage it is reasonable to consider cataract surgery to improve the vision, decrease glare, and reduce dependence on glasses. Unless treated, a cataract will progressively worsen with time.

If you have cataracts, you are one of millions of people in the United States with the same condition. In fact, more than 50% of Americans over the age of 60 have cataracts. In most cases, the exact cause of cataracts is not known. Most experts agree that cataracts are a normal and expected consequence of the natural aging process. Cataracts also may develop as a result of eye injury, certain medications such as steroids, illnesses such as diabetes, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light, poor nutrition, and smoking.

Our doctors and staff will perform a series of tests in order to diagnose a cataract and create a customized surgical plan. A dilated eye exam will be performed to examine the condition of the lens and other parts of the eye. Our doctors may also perform tonometry, a procedure that measures the pressure in the eye, as some cataracts can actually cause high eye pressure and lead to glaucoma.

Cataract Surgery

There’s no cause for alarm if you need cataract surgery, as this is in fact the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States. Cataracts affect more than 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older, so in the U.S. alone over 2 million cataract procedures take place every year. Cataract surgery can be handled quickly and securely by Dr. Siedlecki. Cataract surgeries have an extremely high success rate.

An anesthetist will administer intravenous sedation to keep you relaxed and sleepy throughout the entire process. Your surgeon will numb the eye with an anesthetic and create a tiny incision through which an ultrasound device will be inserted. This device will break up the cataract into small pieces which can then be suctioned out of the eye. In place of the original cloudy cataract, a new, clear artificial intraocular lens (IOL) will be inserted. The power of this IOL can be calculated to reduce and sometimes eliminate entirely your previous glasses prescription. This whole procedure takes approximately 10 minutes. You should not experience any pain, neither during nor after the surgery. You will not witness anything distressing, such as a scalpel or needle approaching the eye.

After the procedure, a patch will be placed over the eye and you will be asked to rest for a few moments. Patients can return home the very same day, but will need someone to drive them. The next day your eye will be examined to make sure it is healing properly. For a few days, you may experience itching, mild discomfort, tearing/watering of the eye, and sensitivity to light and/or touch. Dr. Siedlecki will prescribe eyedrops to help the healing process and to reduce the risk of infection. Most patients have good eyesight and return to their normal routine and physical activities within 2-3 days.

Your surgery will be performed at The Eye Institute, our on-site, office-based Ambulatory Surgery Center at 170 Maple Road, Williamsville. It is licensed by the New York State Department of Health and accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. We anticipate that our state-of-the-art eye surgery center in Orchard Park will be operational in the summer of 2022.