St. George Cataract Care

St. George Cataracts

Understanding Cataracts in Optometry and Ophthalmology


One of the significant curable causes of vision loss in adults 55 and older is a cataract. Cataracts are a natural aspect of aging and can significantly impact your vision. The good news is they are very successfully treatable with cataract surgery.

A cataract is any clouding of the eye’s natural lens which results in blurred or defocused vision. There are a number of different types of cataracts that form. Early cataracts can be present for years, causing only minor problems with vision. Sometimes, however, cataracts advance rapidly.  It is difficult to predict how quickly cataracts will cause a noticeable problem that requires surgery. Common patient complaints are blurred vision, glare at night from lights, trouble with color differentiation, and decreased vision in dim light conditions. The decision to have cataract surgery is based on how much trouble they are causing in day-to-day vision activities such as reading, driving at night and enjoying the scenery of St. George, Utah.

Cataract surgery involves the removal of your cataract by removing the natural lens and the placement of an artificial intraocular (IOL) lens into your eye by an eye surgeon. Modern day cataract surgery has evolved into a highly successful procedure because of innovative techniques and instrumentation.

Graf Medical Eye Care & Vision Center has helped thousands of patients achieve dramatic improvement in vision from cataract surgery with excellent success.

If you live in St. George or the surrounding areas and suffer from Cataracts or blurred vision or if you have not had an annual ophthalmological or optometric eye exam, please call to schedule an appointment. Let us help you improve your vision beginning now.

Causes of Cataracts

The main cause of cataracts is the change in the lens induced by age. Other causes include eye trauma, exposure to ultraviolet radiation, previous eye surgery, medicines like steroids, family history, and diabetes.

Symptoms of Cataracts

As mentioned above, cataracts cause deterioration in vision which can be sensed as blurred vision, glare, decreased vision in low light conditions, and a drop in the quality of your vision. When the symptoms are severe enough to affect your daily routine and quality of life, we may suggest cataract surgery to you.

What is Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is an excellent option for patients who desire improved vision when vision is affected by a cataract. When the symptoms are significant, cataract surgery can restore your vision.

Cataract surgery involves the removal of your natural cloudy lens and the placement of an intraocular lens. The procedure usually takes less than 15 minutes in an outpatient setting and requires little downtime. Cataract surgery in St. George has evolved into a very technologically-advanced procedure. We utilize small incision, no-stitch, phacoemulsification cataract surgery resulting in excellent outcomes. There is now available newer laser cataract surgery which is more gentle and accurate and can provide better vision than the previous standard cataract surgery.

Intraocular Lens Options

When considering cataract surgery, there are many IOL options. We will discuss these options with you at the time of your cataract evaluation in our St. George clinic.

The standard IOLs give the patient a monofocal outcome, still requiring the use of glasses. These IOLs have been widely utilized and studied for many years and provide patients with excellent vision.

Patients can elect to have a Toric IOL to reduce significant astigmatism. Patients can also elect to have a multifocal IOL like the Symfony. This IOL can give a multifocal outcome, which can decrease the need for glasses. These types of IOLs are often referred to as Premium IOLs and patients that choose these IOLs can enjoy life with more independence from glasses.

Graf Medical Eye Care is trained and experienced in all the available lens options. We believe in staying up-to-date and at the cutting edge of technology. We are able to offer our patients all the different choices available. This decision is one that will affect your lifestyle on a daily basis and our team of experts will help you make your decision.

If you suffer from Cataracts or blurred vision or if you have not had an annual dilated ophthalmological or optometric eye exam, please call to schedule an appointment. Let us help you improve your vision.

How are cataracts diagnosed?

Cataracts are diagnosed during a comprehensive dilated optometric or ophthalmologic eye examination, such as that offered at our practice. Many factors are considered when making the decision to perform cataract surgery. These factors include:

  • Medical History - It is important for Dr. Graf to determine your eye symptoms and how they encumber your everyday life in St. George. Questions are asked about your general medical history, including any medications you are currently taking and whether you have any allergies, prior eye disease, and previous surgeries.
  • Eye Tests - Eye charts are used during an eye examination to determine your vision. Refraction is done to determine your prescription and to see if changing glasses will improve your vision.
  • Eye Inspection - Dr. Graf uses a microscope to examine the front structures of the eye, including the clarity of the cornea and lens. An ophthalmoscope with special lenses is used to examine the back structures of the eye, including retina and optic nerve. Eye pressure is checked with a tonometer. Dr. Graf determines if it is a cataract that is obscuring vision and not another disease. This will help Dr. Graf decide if your vision is likely to be improved by removing the cataract. If cataract surgery seems warranted, measurements for the lens implant will be made using a keratometer, which measures the front curvature of your cornea, and an A-scan, a painless sonar measurement of the length of your eye.
  • Discussion - If cataracts are present, then you and Dr. Graf can discuss your treatment options in our St. George clinic. If you are still functioning well and activities are not limited by the quality of your vision, a decision may be made to wait before removing the cataract. If helpful, a change of glasses may be recommended. The decision to have cataract surgery can only be reached after you and Dr. Graf discuss the benefits, risks, and alternatives. You also should discuss the possibility of having Advanced Technology Cataract treatment.

If you suffer from Cataracts or blurred vision or if you have not had an annual dilated ophthalmological or optometric eye exam, please call to schedule an appointment. Let us help you improve your vision.

Questions about Intraocular Lenses (IOL)

Following my IOL procedure, how long will my vision be distorted?

Your full vision will fluctuate from day to day but will steadily improve following your IOL procedure. 

How long does an intraocular lens last?

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

Will I experience any pain throughout my IOL procedure?

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

How long following my IOL procedure do I have to wait before I can return to normal activities?

You should be able to return to your normal activities within days of your IOL procedure.

How long does the 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 I be on medication?

Following your IOL procedure, you will need to administer eye drops in decreasing amounts over 4-6 weeks.

Questions about Cataracts

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 with diabetes and in young people, may rapidly worsen over months and even sometimes weeks.

How is Cataract 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.

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 a decision between yourself and Dr. Graf is necessary to decide when is the best time for you.

What Can I Expect from Cataract Surgery??

Over 1.4 million people have cataract surgery each year in the United States, 98% of them without complications. Cataract surgery is the most common surgery in the United States. Almost all cases are done with a minimum of intravenous anesthesia for safety, and 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 that 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 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.

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