Ophthalmology Ltd.'s Surgeons Observe Cataract Awareness Month

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During August (Cataract Awareness Month), the eye surgeons at Ophthalmology Ltd. in Sioux Falls expect to be handling more questions about what a cataract is—and explaining what it is not.

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“The changes caused by cataracts generally develop so slowly that you don’t notice them until they are serious enough to affect your normal lifestyle.” -Dr. Bryan Hammer

During August (Cataract Awareness Month), the eye surgeons at Ophthalmology Ltd. in Sioux Falls expect to be handling more questions about what a cataract is—and explaining what it is not.

“A cataract is not a cloudy film on or near the surface of the eye, and it’s not uncommon, either,” says Dr. David West. “It is actually a clouding of the lens, located inside of the eye. A cataract interferes with the way light passes through the lens, in much the same way that fingerprints or smears on a window interfere with your view of what is on the other side of the glass.” West adds, “Some people have described their vision with cataracts as looking through waxed paper.”

Cataracts do not cause pain, discomfort, redness, discharge, or sudden, alarming vision changes that would lead someone to seek immediate medical care.

“The changes caused by cataracts generally develop so slowly that you don’t notice them until they are serious enough to affect your normal lifestyle,” says Dr. Bryan Hammer. “Sometimes, a patient will tell me that they can no longer follow the progress of their golf ball—that it just blends into the sky—or that they are having trouble keeping an eye on their tennis ball. Others complain that glare has become a problem, particularly when driving at night.”

Dr. Gregory Osmundson adds, “Staying active is an important part of maintaining a healthy body and mental attitude that a person will need to remain independent. When a cataract or other vision problem makes a favorite activity more frustrating than enjoyable, you are more likely to quit doing it. With every activity and every hobby reluctantly left behind, the world becomes a smaller place, and that doesn’t have to happen, though. Surgery to correct a cataract is safe, comfortable, effective and affordable.”

“Cataract surgery couldn’t be more convenient than it is at our outpatient surgery center,” says Dr. Dustin Dierkes. “We replace the clouded natural lens with a crystal-clear lens implant that takes over the job of focusing light as it enters the eye. Patients are often amazed that the entire process takes much less time than they had imagined, and they are soon on their way home.”

The doctors at Ophthalmology Ltd. have included a “Cataract Quiz” on their website, http://www.OphthalmologyLtd.com. “Taking the quiz is a great way to learn more about the symptoms of cataracts,” says Dr. Michael Eide. Visitors to this website will also find a wealth of information about cataracts and the surgery to correct them, and “lifestyle” replacements lens implants that may reduce dependence on reading glasses and bifocals after surgery, as well as information about state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center.

If the diagnosis is cataracts, the next step is choosing a surgeon to correct the problem. A cataract surgeon who has had more opportunity to perfect his or her technique is likely to be more skilled than a surgeon who has had less ‘practice,’ so ask how many cataracts the surgeon has removed. The more the better, but the number should be in the thousands.

Ophthalmology Ltd.’s cataract surgeons have restored clear vision to more than 55,000 eyes. They encourage anyone who suspects that they have a cataract to schedule a consultation by calling (605) 336-6294 or toll-free (800) 888-1433.

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Stan Gebhart
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