Are you having back pain with any of the following?
We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.
We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.
Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. The natural lens focuses light rays onto the retina at the back of the eye in a way that is similar to a camera. A cataract can scatter or block light coming into your eye and impair your eye's ability to focus images clearly, resulting in blurry vision and glare.
Cataracts are the most common cause of treatable vision loss in the United States and cataract surgery is the most common type of eye surgery performed in this country. Almost 2 million cataract operations are performed in the United States annually.
Lens clouded by a cataract
Common symptoms of a cataract include:
Vision symptoms caused by a cataract vary from person to person and can include problems with driving, reading, or work.
Both eyes are often affected, usually one before the other. If one eye remains normal, you may not notice a cataract in the other eye. Pain, redness, itching, or headaches are usually not associated with cataracts, but may be signs of another condition affecting the eye.
A normal lens compared to a lens clouded by a cataract
We don't know what causes cataracts. They usually occur as part of the normal aging process. Most cataracts progress slowly and can take months or years to develop before they affect vision. This process can be quite variable among individuals and we do not know why certain cataracts progress quickly and others slowly. For this reason, it is impossible to predict how fast a cataract will progress. Some factors that contribute to the development of cataracts include:
Studies have not been able to show that any medications, dietary supplements, exercises, or optical devices will help prevent or cure cataracts. However, protection from excessive sunlight may slow its progression. Therefore, we suggest that you wear sunglasses that filter out ultraviolet (UV) rays or clear glasses with an anti-UV coating.
Depending on the severity of your condition and your symptoms, treatment options may include:
Vision aids. In the case of an early cataract, it may be possible to improve your vision by changing glasses. Working with a good, bright light may help, and sometimes a magnifying aid is useful. In some people, cataracts develop very slowly and do not affect the quality of their eyesight significantly.
Surgery. Once a cataract begins to cause vision loss that affects your ability to continue with your daily activities or, in the rare case where it puts your eye at risk for other complications, it may be time to consider surgery. Cataract surgery is very successful for most patients and most patients experience improvements in their vision. However, we can’t predict exactly how much your eyesight will improve after surgery.
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. You will be admitted into our outpatient surgery unit and, after your procedure and a short recovery period, go home the same day. You will need to arrange for someone to accompany you to the surgery unit and drive you home after the procedure.
Most of the time, the surgery is not painful, but you may experience minimal discomfort. We will give you medication to numb the eye either in the form of drops, or an injection. We will also give you mild sedation medication to help you relax during the operation, but you will be awake.
You will receive specific instructions about preparing for surgery and recovering afterwards, once your surgery has been scheduled.
Phacoemulsification surgery to remove the clouded lens.
Ultrasonic vibrations break up the lens and cataract then the lens is removed.
The intraocular lens takes the place of the eye's natural lens.
The intraocular lens, or "IOL," is placed in your eye at the time of cataract surgery and is designed to stay there permanently to focus the light entering your eye. If the natural lens were simply removed and nothing further done to focus light, your vision would be very blurry. Modern intraocular lenses block ultraviolet light to protect your retina.
In rare cases, an intraocular lens may need to be repositioned or removed months or years after surgery. Occasionally, an intraocular lens cannot be safely implanted at the time of surgery and glasses or contact lenses will need to be used instead.
We will measure your eye before surgery in order to verify the type of IOL that is best for you. Modern intraocular lenses may be monofocal, toric, multifocal or accommodative and we will help you select the type that is best for you.
A monofocal lens can focus images in the far distance, intermediate distance, or near distance but not all three at the same time. For example, with a monofocal implant selected for clear distance vision, you usually still need glasses to read fine print. If we select a monofocal lens to allow you to read up close without glasses, you will still need glasses to see clearly in the distance. Sometimes, depending on your individual needs and preferences, one eye can be corrected for distance and the other eye for intermediate or near. This is called monovision. This approach can make you less dependent on glasses, although it may mildly compromise a depth perception. Monofocal lenses cannot correct for astigmatism.
A toric lens can help correct an astigmatism, a common condition where the curvature of the cornea is irregular, causing blurred vision. The lens can help reduce your dependence on glasses for distance vision, although you will still need glasses for reading unless a monovision approach is used. We can help you decide if you are a candidate for this lens. This lens is not covered by your health plan benefits and is subject to an additional fee.
A multifocal/presbyopic lens is designed to focus on more than one zone simultaneously to reduce your dependence on glasses. This lens has several rings to help focus light at near and distance. This lens is not covered by your health plan benefits and is subject to an additional fee.
Accommodative lens. This lens is hinged to work in coordination with your eye muscles to mimic the way your eyes naturally focus. This allows the lens to move backwards and forwards to help the eye focus at various distances: near (reading), intermediate (computer) and distance. This can reduce your dependence on glasses, although you may still need them for the sharpest vision. This lens is not covered by your health plan benefits and is subject to an additional fee.
As with all surgery, complications can occur. There is a small possibility of bleeding, infection, inflammation or other complications including glaucoma, retinal detachment, and retinal or corneal swelling that could limit or decrease your vision.
The natural lens of the eye is located in a capsule, known as the posterior capsule. When we remove the cloudy lens we leave this capsule in place to hold the intraocular lens in position. Sometimes a clouding of the posterior capsule may form months or years after successful cataract surgery. This clouding may cause symptoms of blurred vision similar to the original cataract.
Fortunately, blurred vision caused by a clouded capsule can be cleared with a quick and painless laser procedure called "YAG capsulotomy," performed in the clinic.
If you are experiencing blurred vision long after cataract surgery, let us know.
In order to drive a private vehicle, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires that you can see 20/40 with both eyes tested together or at least 20/40 in one eye and 20/70 in the other eye. If your vision is less than this, you may be able to get a restricted license, which usually means you cannot drive on highways, or at night. If you are already scheduled to have cataract surgery, the DMV will often extend your license for up to 3 months.
The DMV makes the final decision about your driving vision. We can only record what the eye examination shows and cannot make any driving recommendations to the DMV.
If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.
This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.