The cataract is a cloudiness of the natural lens of
the eye, which helps to focus the light as it enters
the eye. You can think of the eye like a miniature
camera. There’s a focusing system in the front part
of the eye, which consists primarily of the cornea
and the natural lens. This image is then focused
onto the “photographic film” at the back of the eye,
which is called the retina.
The natural lens
can become cloudy for various reasons. This
can happen very early in life and may even
occur in childhood. This is the most common
cause of the normal metabolic changes that
occur as we get older. It is important
however, to remember that a patient may
develop a cataract at any age. Aside from
aging, other causes of cataracts include
injuries, medications, drugs, viruses and
other types of metabolic problems.
The changes that
occur with cataract may occur so slowly that
many patients may not even be aware that their
vision is decreasing. However, the symptoms
that most patients will experience will
include difficulty with nighttime vision,
problems with reading, and an overall decrease
in the quality of their vision. More unusual
symptoms may include double-vision, decreased
color perception, problems with depth
perception, and difficulty judging distances.
OptiVue, we use the most advanced techniques
possible in order to correct vision for patients who
have cataracts. OptiVue has been a national leader
in providing state of the art cataract care. Under
the leadership of Dr. William Martin, OptiVue and
its predecessor companies have participated in a
number of practice “firsts”:
Dr. William Martin, M.D., Medical Director and Chief
Surgeon, is a sought after speaker and is on the
Speaker’s Bureau of several national ophthalmic
companies. In addition, he has taught extensively,
both in the United States and in other countries.
Patients will often ask whether or not cataracts can
grow back. The answer is that they can’t. Once the
cataract is gone, it’s gone forever. However, the
area behind where the cataract was, called the
capsule, may become cloudy in about 20% of patients.
In the past, some doctors called this a “secondary
cataract”. Today we realize that this is a deceptive
and confusing term, since the cataract cannot come
At one time, treatment for opacification of the
posterior capsule - the contemporary term (sometimes
also called posterior capsule opacification)
required a hospital stay of 2 days. Surgery for the
capsule opacification often was more complex and
dangerous than the cataract surgery itself.
During the 1980’s, OptiVue was one of 10 centers in
the nation that pioneered the use of yag capsulotomy.
The yag laser uses an invisible wavelength of light
to open a clear area in the cloudy capsule without
creating an incision on the surface of the eye. The
term “yag” stands for the crystal that is the center
of this remarkable laser. This crystal is composed
of a combination of yttrium, aluminum and garnet.
This remarkable procedure takes less than one minute
to perform in most cases. However, the patients are
asked to remain for 30-60 minutes following the
treatment in order to check vision and pressure.
This procedure is very safe and so simple that most
patients may drive in for their appointment and
drive home immediately afterward, since no surgery
It is important to remember that early treatment for
capsule opacification is generally better than
waiting. Any patient that shows any decrease in
visual acuity, especially at night time or for
reading, should treat it; since the earlier the
treatment is done, the more successful it is. Early
treatment for these patients is especially important
in the new relux high definition procedures, which
we are performing.