Want to know more about the eye care services we provide here at Graf Medical Eye Care? Check out the frequently asked questions that our optometric physician and team have provided to learn more. Give us a call today at 435-634-0420 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jeffery Graf OD FAAO and learn more about medical eye care in St. George, Utah.

How Is a Cataract Detected?

During a thorough eye examination with dilation, your eye physician can detect the presence and extent of a cataract, as well as any other conditions in your eye that may be causing blurred vision. There may be other reasons in addition to the cataract, including problems with the retina or optic nerve. If these are indeed present, removal of the cataract may not result in any significant improvement in your vision. Your eye specialist can make this determination and tell you how much visual improvement to expect.

How Fast Does a Cataract Develop?

How quickly a cataract develops varies among individuals. Most cataracts gradually worsen over a period of years. Other cataracts, such as those that occur in patients with diabetes and in young people, may rapidly worsen over months and sometimes even weeks.

How Are Cataracts Treated?

Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract from your eye. If symptoms are mild, a change in glasses may be able to allow you to function comfortably. There are no medications, dietary supplements or exercises that have been shown to prevent cataract formation. Protection from ultraviolet light (sunlight) may help prevent or slow progression of a cataract. Always wear sunglasses that have ultraviolet (UV) protection when out in the sun.

What Can I Expect From Cataract Surgery?

Over 1.4 million people have cataract surgery each year in the United States, 98% of which are completed without complications. Cataract surgery is the most common surgery in the United States. Almost all cases are performed with a minimum of intravenous anesthesia for safety, and with eyedrops to numb your eye. This is very effective and all that is necessary to make surgery essentially painless. The cloudy cataract lens is removed with a machine that uses ultrasound energy to break it up into pieces, which are then vacuumed out. A newer laser surgery is also available which takes slightly longer but is more precise and gentler on the eye. This new procedure generally gives better vision but is an additional cost above any insurance coverage. A permanent lens implant is then placed into the eye so you can see without thick “coke-bottle” glasses.

After surgery, approximately 60% of people have a clouding of the natural capsule membrane that supports the lens implant. Laser surgery can be used to open this cloudy capsule, restoring clear vision. After cataract surgery, you will use eye drops for a few weeks, but otherwise, you can soon return to your normal activities. Cataract surgery is a highly successful procedure with improved vision in 95% of patients. It is surgery, and therefore, it is possible for complications to occur, some severe enough to limit vision. It is important to discuss all options with your eye specialist before deciding if cataract surgery is appropriate for you.

When Should Cataract Surgery Be Done?

Cataract surgery should be considered when the blurring of your vision is interfering with daily activities, such as driving a car or reading. It is not true that a cataract needs to be “ripe” before it can be removed. Cataract surgery is an elective procedure, and so you and Dr. Graf will need to work together to decide when the best time is for you.

What Are Intraocular Lenses (IOL)?

For cataract surgery, we take out your natural lens and replace it with an artificial lenses known as an IOLs. There are two artificial lens options to choose from: standard and toric. One may need to be worn with glasses and the other does not. We will discuss what the best option for your eyesight will be during an eye examination.

How Long Does an Intraocular Lens Last?

The lens implants are designed, engineered and manufactured with biocompatible materials that should last a lifetime.

Will I Experience Any Pain During My IOL Procedure?

No. This procedure is painless. IOL is performed under topical or local anesthesia. You will be awake and aware of what is happening, but the experience is not uncomfortable.

How Long Will My IOL Procedure Take?

The actual procedure takes less than 10 minutes, but you will be in the outpatient facility for a period of time before and after the procedure.

How Long Will My Vision Be Distorted Following an IOL Procedure?

Your full vision will fluctuate from day to day but will steadily improve following your IOL procedure. You will be able to return to normal activities within days of your procedure being completed.

How Long Will I Be on Medication?

For an IOL procedure, you will need to place eye drops in decreasing amounts over four to six weeks.

Who Is Most at Risk for Glaucoma?

Anyone can develop glaucoma. Some people are at higher risk than others. They include:

  • Everyone over age 60
  • People with a family history of glaucoma
  • People with hypertension, cardiovascular disease or diabetes
  • African Americans over age 40

Does Increased Eye Pressure Mean That I Have Glaucoma?

Not necessarily. Increased eye pressure means you are at risk for glaucoma, but it does not mean you have the disease. A person has glaucoma only if the optic nerve is damaged. If you have increased eye pressure but no damage to the optic nerve, you do not have glaucoma, however, you are at risk. Follow the advice of your eye care physician.

What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?

At first, there are no symptoms. Vision stays normal, and there is no pain. However, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice his or her side vision gradually failing. That is, objects in front may still be seen clearly, but objects to the side may be missed. Without treatment, people with glaucoma will slowly lose their peripheral vision, leading to restricted tunnel vision. Over time, straight-ahead vision may decrease until no vision remains. Glaucoma can initially be in one eye only, but eventually, the disease tends to develop in both eyes.

How Is Glaucoma Detected?

Screening for risk of Glaucoma is accomplished by having an annual ophthalmological or optometric dilated eye exam. During your examination, our team will perform a number of tests in order to make the most accurate diagnosis of glaucoma. These may include the following testing procedures:

  • Tonometry — This is used to measure your intraocular pressure. There is no discomfort or bothersome air puff.
  • Ophthalmoscopy or Retinal Photography — Using this method, we carefully exam the eye with different types of lenses to check the color and shape of your optic nerve.
  • Visual Field Perimetry — This method tests how far your vision extends in various directions to see how your optic nerve is functioning.
  • Pachymetry — This instrument is used to measure the thickness of your cornea.
  • Gonioscopyx — A quick and painless test that views the angle where the iris meets the cornea. This will help us know whether the trabecular meshwork has a normal anatomical structure.
  • Optic Nerve Computer Imaging — This method uses advanced computer imaging technology in order to make the earliest and most accurate diagnosis. Our Optic Nerve Computer Imaging system is called the ZEISS CIRRUS® Optic Nerve Head Analysis. The ZIESS CIRRUS Optic Nerve Head Analysis uses an imaging method called “confocal laser ophthalmoscopy” to scan the retinal surface and optic nerve with a laser. It then constructs a topographic three dimensional (3-D) image of the optic nerve and measures the thickness of the retinal nerve fiber layer. These are very precise measurements that our eye care doctor will interpret in conjunction with other glaucoma tests.

Can Glaucoma Be Treated?

Yes. There is no cure for glaucoma, so treatment focuses on prevention of further damage and stabilization of the current condition. Any nerve damage or vision loss from undiagnosed or untreated glaucoma is permanent and cannot be fixed. Glaucoma treatments usually begin with eye drop medication because of their safety and excellent effectivity. If progression still occurs, other options that are more invasive are available. These include laser trabeculoplasty, conventional invasive glaucoma microsurgery or a combination of these. While these treatments may save remaining vision, they do not improve sight already lost from glaucoma. Thus, early diagnosis and timely treatment in our eye clinic is very important.

Why Can I Do To Protect My Vision?

Studies have shown that the early detection and treatment of glaucoma before it causes major vision loss is the best way to control the disease. If you fall into one of the high-risk groups for the disease, make sure to have your eyes examined through dilated pupils every year by an eye care physician. If you are being treated for glaucoma, be sure to take your glaucoma medicine every day and see your eye care professional regularly. You also can help protect the vision of family members and friends who are at high risk for glaucoma by encouraging them to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam every year.

Why Should I Choose Graf Medical Eye Care for My Glaucoma Screen or Treatment?

Dr. Graf is uniquely experienced in the area of glaucoma diagnosis and treatment. Graf Medical Eye Care has helped hundreds of St. George residents fight glaucoma successfully with the latest in medical eye care and treatment. In addition to the extensive knowledge, you will benefit from the extra time and attention you will receive from Dr. Graf and his team. You will be treated with respect and compassion. Our patients enjoy the association with us. Schedule an appointment today and let us help you retain your vision. Remember: Lowering eye pressure in glaucoma’s early stages slows the progression of the disease and helps save vision.