Cataracts in Everett, WA

About Cataracts



Each year, cataracts affect millions of people, including more than half of all Americans aged 60 and older. A cataract is a painless clouding of the eye’s natural lens that is caused by a buildup of protein.

A cataract can form in one or both eyes. If left untreated, cataracts worsen over time and interfere with everyday activities such as reading or driving. Night vision is usually most affected. When cataracts are in their early stages, people are helped by brighter lighting. As cataracts get worse, however, most people require surgery.

The lens in your eye lies behind the iris and the pupil. The lens is a transparent film that focuses the images seen by the eye on the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye. When a cataract develops, the lens becomes cloudy. As the cloudiness increases, cataracts affect vision, especially at night.

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Cataract Surgery



As our eyes age, proteins build up in the lens, clouding it. This clouding is known as a cataract. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40, and are the principal cause of blindness across the globe. Currently over 22 million Americans over 40 have cataracts. That number is expected to grow to over 30 million by 2020.

Surgery is the only option for cataract patients. At Physicians Eye Clinic, our three doctors have extensive experience with cataract surgery, removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).

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What are the risk factors for developing cataracts?



In addition to aging, there are other risk factors that increase a person’s chances for developing cataracts:

  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Family history of cataracts
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Radiation from x-rays and cancer treatments
  • Previous eye injury or surgery
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
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    Symptoms of cataracts



    Cataracts cause a progressive, painless loss of vision, along with these symptoms:

    • Blurry vision
    • Trouble with night vision
    • Fading of color
    • Increased sensitivity to glare
  • Halos surrounding lights
  • Double vision in the affected eye
  • A feeling as if there is a film over the eye
  • A need to frequently change eyeglass prescriptions
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    How are cataracts diagnosed?



    At Physicians Eye Clinic we have extensive experience diagnosing and surgically treating cataracts. We usually see cataracts during your regular comprehensive eye exams. Once we suspect a cataract, we check tonometry to measure the pressure inside the eye.

    The most common tonometry test is to send a puff of air onto the eye to flatten the cornea and test eye pressure. At this point, we’ll test for sensitivity to glare and your color perception (both of which are affected by cataract lens clouding).

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    What happens if I opt not to have cataract surgery?



    The only treatment for cataracts is to surgically remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL). Should you choose not to do that, you’ll progress through stronger prescription eyeglasses and you’ll need sunglasses with an anti-glare coating. Cataracts don’t suddenly stop progressing or even regress. The cloudiness will continue to develop until it begins to affect your daily life when driving, reading, or watching TV. At this point, surgery should no longer be put off.

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    How is cataract surgery done?



    Cataract surgery is an amazing surgery that takes just minutes. Our three doctors at Physicians Eye Clinic all have extensive experience with cataract surgery. We perform a minimally invasive, small-incision, no-stitch surgery called phacoemulsification (phaco) surgery.

    A tiny incision is made in the eye to make room for a small ultrasonic probe. This incision is so small that only topical (eye drop) anesthetic is used. Once inserted, the ultrasound waves break up (emulsify) the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The probe then suctions out the pieces of the cataract lens.

    Now the eye is ready for the artificial IOL. The IOL is folded and inserted through the same tiny incision through which the probe was inserted and removed. The IOL is then unfolded and the procedure is complete.

    There is no need for sutures, as the incision is so small it heals on its own. Also, by using the same incision for the probe and the insertion of the IOL, this significantly reduces recovery times and improves safety by reducing the risk of bleeding, scarring, irritation, and distortion.

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    What is recovery from cataract surgery like?



    You’ll wear an eye patch immediately after your surgery. We’ll probably also have you wear a protective eye shield, particularly when sleeping, for several days. At first, your vision may be blurry, but it will rapidly improve within just a few days. Your eye may itch and be mildly uncomfortable, but you must not rub or exert any pressure on it.

    Heavy lifting or exertion that creates pressure in the head area is totally off limits. Eye drops will help with inflammation and infection, and they help control the pressure in the eye.

    You can resume daily activities in a few days, but full healing can take up to two months. Surgery is done on only one eye at a time. If your other eye also needs surgery, we’ll schedule it for one to two months after this first surgery.

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    Will I still need to wear eyeglasses after I recover from cataract surgery?



    Until just a few years ago, it was relatively standard that patients would need reading glasses even after cataract surgery. This was to correct for presbyopia, a condition that makes it more and more difficult to see up close after a person turns 40. But this is changing.

    New multifocal IOLs and accommodating IOLs allow focusing at different distances. Also, you can opt for monovision cataract surgery, where one single vision IOL in your dominant eye is set for distance vision, while your non-dominant eye lens is set for up-close vision. This may sound like a perennial headache, but it’s amazing how your brain adjusts to this setup.
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    How long will my vision remain clear?



    Cataract replacement lens surgery is permanent. The IOL in your eye will not cloud as your natural lens did. Also, depending on which IOLs you chose, any former vision problem, such as farsightedness, could have been corrected. You’ll enjoy your new clear vision for the rest of your life.
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    Are there risks with cataract surgery?



    Cataract surgery is so common that eventually over half of the population will likely have it. Complications are very rare, and if any of these happen they can usually be successfully treated. These are the risks:

    • Inflammation
    • Infection
    • Bleeding
    • Swelling
    • Drooping eyelid
  • Dislocation of the IOL
  • Retinal detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Loss of vision
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    Is cataract surgery covered by Medicare or private insurance?



    Most cataract surgeries are fully or partially covered by Medicare or private insurance. If you choose monofocal IOLs, it’s possible to have the procedure done without any out-of-pocket expenses other than deductibles. If you choose multifocal or toric IOLs for astigmatism, you will likely have to pay for the difference between these lenses and monofocal lenses.

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    How much does cataract surgery cost?



    Most cataract surgeries are fully or partially covered by Medicare or private insurance. If you choose monofocal IOLs, it’s possible to have the procedure done without any out-of-pocket expenses other than deductibles. If you choose multifocal or toric IOLs for astigmatism, you will likely have to pay for the difference between these lenses and monofocal lenses.

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    Intraocular Lenses



    An intraocular lens, or IOL, is the artificial replacement lens implanted when a patient’s natural lens has been surgically removed during cataract surgery. A wide variety of replacement lenses are available to cataract patients, each offering its own advantages for post-surgery vision. The most effective lens to use depends on the patient’s preferences and particular vision goals.

    Goals for vision differ according to individual occupations and lifestyles. IOLs often eliminate the need for glasses or contacts after cataract surgery, conveniently providing most patients with clear vision.

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    Physicians Eye Clinic proudly serves Everett, Marysville, Snohomish, Mill Creek and the surrounding areas. To schedule an appointment for Cataracts in Everett, WA call us at (425) 259-2020 today or fill out our contact form for more information.

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    Physicians Eye Clinic
    3930 Hoyt Ave
    Everett, WA 98201
    Tel: (425) 259-2020
    Office Hours
    • Monday – Friday: 8am – 5pm
    Gallery of Eyewear
    • Monday-Friday: 8:30am -5pm

    Physicians Eye Clinic
    3930 Hoyt Ave
    Everett, WA 98201
    Tel: (425) 259-2020
    Office Hours
    • Monday – Friday: 8am – 5pm
    Gallery of Eyewear
    • Monday-Friday: 8:30am -5pm