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Cataract, a condition in which the lens of the eye turns cloudy, has long been the most common cause of blindness in the world. In the United States, 75 percent of all people over the age of 60 show some signs of cataracts as a normal consequence of aging. In a healthy eye, the lens focuses incoming light onto the light-sensitive retina. But, because the eye's lens turns increasingly opaque as the cataract develops, more and more light is absorbed by the lens and not transmitted to the retina. Eventually, reduced vision begins to interfere with daily activities. Fortunately, the condition is treatable if surgery is performed. This is usually done on an outpatient basis without general anesthesia.
Cataracts are easily diagnosed by an examination of the eye. The opaque lens is clearly visible to the doctor.
Cataracts are removed surgically when the impairment begins to interfere with daily activities. Wilmer surgeons have improved treatment by devising procedures that require smaller incisions, reducing healing time and complications. Using these new techniques, as well as special sutures and improved implants to replace the lens, Wilmer has reduced recovery time for this outpatient procedure from months to days - and also has reduced the discomfort and health care costs. Wilmer ophthalmologists also have demonstrated that not all cataracts must be removed immediately. Patients with such cataracts are monitored until the proper time for surgery arises.
> Treated by the Division of Cornea, Cataract, and External Diseases
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