Chicago (312) 475-1000   /   Northbrook (847) 562-4330


What is a cataract?

The lens of the eye is similar to the lens of a camera. Light rays are processed through the lens and focused on the retina, which lines the back of the eye. When a cataract forms, the lens becomes cloudy and prevents the retina from clearly registering what you see.

Cataracts most often develop as a result of aging. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 70% of people over the age of 60 will have at least some clouding of the eye’s lens. Other causes of cataracts include ocular trauma, steroid medication, diabetes and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Patients with cataracts typically experience a slow and painless blurring of vision. Other symptoms of cataracts include glare, particularly at night, frequent eyeglass prescription changes, a decrease in color perception, and in rare cases, double vision.

When should I have my cataract removed?

Fortunately, surgery to remove a cataract will restore all vision lost as a result of a progressive cataract. Cataract surgery is very successful and one of the most common procedures performed in the United States. The timing of when to have surgery is a personal one. Many people choose to have surgery when vision becomes poor enough to interfere with daily activities, like driving or reading.

I was told I have cataracts and astigmatism. What is astigmatism?

For people with astigmatism, the outer front surface of the eye, called the cornea, has an oval shape, more like a football than a round baseball. Light rays from any location are not focused together at the same point, causing blurred vision as shown here.


In addition to cataracts, what causes my blurred vision for near/reading?

cataractPresbyopia is a common age-related condition in which the eye progressively loses its ability to focus on near objects as the lens becomes less flexible. The requirement for magnification to read or the need for progressive and bifocal lenses heralds the onset of presbyopia. In the example shown here, while a streetlight at distance can be focused well onto the back inner surface of the eye, called the retina, the natural lens cannot sufficiently focus the book onto the retina.

How are cataracts removed?

cataractWe use a machine that uses ultrasonic energy to emulsify and vacuum the cataract away. The removal is often completed in under 20 minutes in an operating room. Then, we replace the cloudy cataract with a clear new lens implant.

Bladeless cataract surgery: Incisions using laser are now possible

Traditional cataract surgery is performed using manual instruments to make incisions into the cornea and the lens. These surgical steps can now be performed by an automated bladeless laser system that uses an extremely accurate imaging program that provides customized measurements of your eye. The laser is also used to soften the hard cataract, thereby enabling your surgeon to remove it more gently. The laser is also used to reduce or eliminate astigmatism.

The correction of astigmatism leads to higher quality vision after surgery. The laser cataract surgical technique was designed to promote rapid healing and visual recovery after surgery as well as to optimize your chance for reduced dependence on glasses postoperatively. Read one patient’s testimonial about laser cataract surgery »

Premium lens implant replaces your cataract

During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens within the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial, permanent lens implant. The last decade has been a very exciting time for cataract surgery. In the past, patients had only one option in terms of lens implants – a standard monofocal lens. While vision is improved with this style of lens implant, full visual potential was limited by uncorrected astigmatism. New astigmatism-correcting and presbyopia-correcting lens implants allow patients to see clearly at both far and near distances, which greatly reduces dependence on eyeglasses after surgery. All of the skilled eye surgeons at University Eye Specialists are trained to implant these premium lenses. If you are considering cataract surgery, a physician at University Eye Specialists can discuss your options with you, including when the time might be right to have surgery.

cataract Back to top