Understanding Cataracts

A cataract is a vision problem caused by a clouding of the eye’s lens. The most common type is related to aging. More than half of the American population ages 60 and older has cataracts.

What is the lens?

The lens is the part of the eye that helps focus light on the retina. In a normal eye, light passes through the lens and is focused on the retina. To produce a clear image, the lens must remain clear. The lens is a transparent structure made of an ordered array of lens fibers that contain proteins and water. With age, the protein can clump together and start to cloud small areas of the lens which then causes a loss of transparency, interfering with vision. This is called a cataract. In its early stages, a cataract may not cause a problem. However, over time the cataract may grow larger, making it harder to see. Because less light reaches the retina, your vision may become dull and blurry.

Cataract Symptoms

  • Cloudy or blurred vision
  • Nighttime glare from headlights
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty reading fine print
  • Faded colors

What Are Cataracts?

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the United States.  It is an outpatient procedure which normally takes about 15 minutes to perform.

Cataract Surgery: The Basics

At Helm Vision Group, state-of-the-art cataract removal is performed through a procedure called phacoemulsification.  In this procedure, ultrasound waves are used to dissolve the cataract which is then removed with suction. Once the cataract is removed, a new artificial lens implant is inserted. It is not uncommon for our patients to have the benefit of dramatically improved vision within a few hours of their procedure. Anesthetic eye drops are used along with mild intravenous sedation, making the procedure painless and allowing our patients the fastest possible recovery.

After surgery with traditional monofocal lenses, most patients experience very good vision at one distance, either up close or far away. In most cases, the monofocal lens provides good distance vision for driving, walking and some everyday activities. However, most people with monofocal lenses still require reading glasses or bifocals to have a full range of vision.
At Helm Vision Group we are proud to offer our patients the PanOptix® trifocal intraocular lens implant which is designed to give you your most natural vision, reducing or eliminating your dependence on reading glasses, bifocals or trifocals.

Treating Astigmatism & Presbyopia During Cataract Surgery

Laser Cataract Surgery
Precise. Predictable. Customizable.

Helm Vision Group is pleased to introduce laser cataract surgery to the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding communities!
Cataract surgery is traditionally performed manually, using handheld blades. Laser cataract surgery, however, uses a beam of laser-generated light to deliver a precise and customizable cataract procedure, blade-free.
Ziemer’s Swiss-engineered, FDA-approved FEMTO LDV Z8 laser system was developed to create blade-free corneal incisions by using an incredibly fast sequence of low pulses of laser energy to create microscopic bubbles at a programmed depth and length. These incisions can be placed in a variety of patterns for optimal results, and are precise within one hundredth of a millimeter. LDV Z8 enables us to tailor the procedure to your eye’s unique characteristics. Take a look at the videos below to learn more about the process, and give us a call if you'd like to learn more.

Laser Cataract Surgery: The Latest Technology

Laser Cataract Surgery: The Latest Technology (Spanish)

The PanOptix® Trifocal Lens Implant

For those patients with cataracts or presbyopia wanting to reduce or even eliminate their dependence from glasses, we offer the Acrysof® IQ PanOptix® Trifocal lens implant. This procedure is performed the same safe way we remove cataracts.

The Acrysof® IQ PanOptix® Trifocal is the first and only trifocal available in the U.S. designed to deliver uninterrupted natural vision at all distances. The standard monofocal lens implant focuses light at one distance only so you will need glasses for near and intermediate activities. With the PanOptix® Trifocal, light is focused at near, intermediate, and distance so you can see effortlessly with no blurry zones and a much greater chance of spectacle independence. Since everyone’s needs are different, a personal consultation with one of our doctors will help determine if the PanOptix® Trifocal lens implant is right for you.

The PanOptix® lens combines the strength of diffractive and refractive technologies to provide quality distance, near and intermediate vision. In a clinical trial, 99% of people with the PanOptix® Lens would choose the same lens again, 98% of people with the PanOptix® Lens would recommend it to family and friends, and 80.5% with the PanOptix® Lens reported that, within the past week, they never had to wear glasses to see.

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About PanOptix®

Cataract Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which lies behind the pupil of the eye. A normal lens is clear. It lets light pass to the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. As a cataract develops, it becomes harder for a person to see. Vision may become cloudy or blurry, and colors may fade.
When cataracts develop they usually occur in both eyes. One eye may be worse than the other, however, because each cataract develops at a different rate. Some people with a cataract may not even realize it. Their cataract may be small, or the changes in their vision may not bother them very much. Other people cannot see well enough to do the things they need or want to do.

Can cataracts be prevented?

Most people develop cataracts with age. However, a good, balanced diet, protection from the sun, and restraint from smoking can delay the development of cataracts.

Will I need to wear glasses after my cataract surgery?

During traditional cataract surgery a single focus lens is implanted. Often this gives patients good distance vision but still requires them to wear reading glasses for near vision. However, at Helm Vision Group, patients have the option to use the PanOptix® trifocal lens implant which provides full-range vision with less reliance on glasses.

What are possible side effects of cataract surgery?

As with any surgery, discomfort, infection and swelling are possible, but very few patients experience serious problems. Your surgeon may prescribe medications for these effects. Retinal detachment is also rare. However, if you experience excessive pain or vision loss, report these symptoms to your surgeon immediately.

Who Is Affected?

Most cataracts are related to aging. At least half of Americans ages 65 to 74 have a cataract. About 70 percent of those age 75 and older have this condition. However, other conditions can increase the risk of developing cataracts. Examples include diabetes, smoking and alcohol use, and prolonged exposure to sunlight.

How Is a Cataract Treated?

Surgery is used to remove a cataract when vision loss interferes with everyday activities such as driving, reading, or watching TV. If you have cataracts in both eyes, the surgery will be performed on each eye at separate times, usually 2 weeks apart.

If You Have Any Questions Call Us At +1-661-259-3937