The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that cataracts affect more than 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older, and that by age 75, approximately half of all Americans have cataracts. Cataract surgery is the most common procedure performed by U.S. ophthalmic surgeons -nearly four million procedures each year. These procedures are safe, highly effective and virtually painless.
Dr. Spellman performs cataract surgery in one of two ways, depending on the patient's wishes after consultation. The traditional surgery involves the surgeon using a needle to break up the cloudy lens, or cataract, that covers the eye and then, with a small blade, making an incision in the cornea to remove the cataract. Once the cataract is removed, he fits the eye for an an IOL -intraocular lens -and inserts it.
In laser cataract surgery, the procedure is similar, but rather than using a hand-held needle and blade, Dr. Spellman uses a laser to break the cataract and create the opening in the cornea to remove it. The precision available with the laser ensures a much more accurate opening of the cornea and correct fitting of the IOL. It also allows Dr. Spellman to correct existing astigmatism, resulting in clearer vision and reduced dependence on glasses.
Bifocal implants are a relatively recent addition to cataract surgery, working just as bifocal eyeglasses do, that is, sharpening both near and distance vision.