DR. HESSLER: Enjoy improved vision with cataract surgery

DR. HESSLER: Enjoy improved vision with cataract surgery

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Has your world started to look blurry, hazy or less colorful lately? If so, you may have cataracts, an eye condition that affects more than 24.4 million Americans.

Dr. Ronald Hessler

Cataracts are particularly common among older people — by the age of 75, approximately half of all Americans have cataracts.

Here’s the good news: when cataracts get in the way of your regular activities, they can be successfully treated with surgery.

 “Cataract surgery is one of the most common operations performed in the US, with more than three million procedures performed each year,” says Dr. Ronald Hessler of Grand Rapids Ophthalmology’s Greenville office. “It’s also one of the safest and most effective surgeries.”

Dr. Hessler answers more common questions about cataract surgery:

Q? How do I know if  I have cataracts?

A cataract is when the natural lens inside the eye becomes discolored and clouded, resulting in hazy or blurred vision at all distances. Cataracts may also result in double vision, trouble seeing well at night or in dim light, or seeing bright colors as faded or yellowish.

Q. Am I at risk for cataracts?

Aging is the most common risk factor for cataracts. By age 75, approximately 50% of Americans have cataracts. Other risk factors for cataracts include:

• Diabetes

• Smoking

• Family members with cataracts

• A health history that includes eye injury, eye surgery, or radiation on your upper body

• Lots of time in the sun, especially without sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays

Q. When is it time to consider cataract surgery?

You should have surgery to remove cataracts when they get in the way of your normal activities such as driving, reading, and/or watching TV. Discuss your cataract symptoms with your doctor and decide together whether you are ready for surgery.

Q. What does cataract surgery entail?

At the time of cataract surgery, the cloudy lens in your eye is removed and replaced with a clear, artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) implant. Grand Rapids Ophthalmology offers four options for IOL implants, including:

• Traditional IOL implants that improve vision but may require the need for glasses to see well close up and/or at a distance after surgery. Traditional cataract surgery is accepted by most insurance plans.

• Advanced Technology IOL implants that optimize near and distance vision, and correct astigmatism. Advanced Technology IOL implants reduce your dependency on glasses or bifocals after surgery. The best lens for you depends on many factors, including your lifestyle and specific vision needs. Additional costs are involved, and many patients choose to use Grand Rapids Ophthalmology’s interest-free financing option.

Q. Can I slow down or prevent cataracts?

The best way to preserve your vision is to protect your eyes from sunlight: wear a hat and sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of the sun’s UV rays. Quitting smoking, prioritizing good nutrition, and addressing other health problems—especially diabetes—may also slow down the development of cataracts.

Bottom line: cataracts are a treatable condition.

If you think you may have cataracts, now is the time to schedule a complete eye exam. If you are ready for surgery, the doctors at Grand Rapids Ophthalmology are happy to review the options and help you choose the best solution for your unique eyes.

Grand Rapids Ophthalmology provides patients with expert, comprehensive care and the greatest depth of eye care services available in the region. Dr. Barrett, Dr. Hessler and Dr. Hollenbeck are your Greenville hometown eye doctors — call Grand Rapids Ophthalmology to schedule your appointment today.

Dr. Ronald Hessler is an ophthalmologist at Grand Rapids Ophthalmology’s Greenville office

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