Dr. Robert Maloney believes that a well-informed patient is key to successful vision correction surgery. He wants to be sure that you fully understand what you can expect from your procedure you choose. He wants to help you care for and preserve your eyesight in the best way possible. Here, you can find the information that you need to help you make informed choices about health care for your eyes.

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Of all the amazing components of the human anatomy, the eyes may be the most marvelous. They are your primary tools of awareness. The ability to see allows you independence, mobility, and appreciation of visual beauty and form.

If your vision is starting to blur and you think you might have cataracts, put your mind at ease. Cataracts are usually painless, and they are not harmful to other parts of your eyes. They're not a sign of disease, nor are they "growths." They are simply clouding of the lens of the eye.

In most cases, cataracts are as normal a part of aging as the "silver threads among the gold" (in the words of an old song) that appear when your hair begins to gray.

Cataracts develop so gradually that you probably won't need any treatment for them at first. A stronger eyeglass prescription will likely help in the early stages. Eventually, your vision will become blurrier, some things will seem out of focus, and you'll need new prescriptions more often. Objects might appear yellowish. Glare or halos from light sources could make night driving difficult. You might have trouble reading, both close up and at a distance-fine print in a book, for example, and street signs along the highway. When these symptoms interfere with your day-to-day activities, you may want to consider surgery.

By age sixty-five, most Americans have early-stage cataracts, and, by age eighty, most have had cataract surgery. Surgeons perform some 3 million cataract operations a year in the United States, with a very high success rate and few complications.

In many parts of the world, modern cataract surgery is not readily available. Nearly 1 percent of Earth's population is blind, and cataracts cause about half of these cases. Dedicated physicians and public-health professionals regularly donate their time and services to treat cataracts and to purify contaminated water supplies, since parasites are a leading cause of vision loss where fresh, clean water is unavailable.

Thus, we are doubly fortunate to live in a time and a place where outpatient surgery, which takes just minutes, can painlessly replace a clouded natural lens with a state-of-the-art synthetic lens. Within a day or two of your surgery, you'll marvel at how clear and vivid your world has become. And you'll never take your eyesight for granted again.

In the United States, cataract surgery is among the most effective and safest surgical procedures performed-especially in the hands of a highly qualified and experienced eye surgeon. Replacement lenses do an excellent job of restoring vision (with or without glasses, depending on the type of lens implanted). Recovery is rapid-you can resume most of your normal activities within a few days.

This book describes how the healthy eye functions, how cataracts can interfere with clear eyesight, and how clarity can be restored. It explains all your options if cataracts are starting to cloud your vision and it can help you and your doctor determine the right time for surgery.

You, or someone you care about, might find great reassurance in the knowledge that cataracts can be safely and successfully treated and that, once removed, cataracts do not return. Advances in cataract surgery have made it possible for millions of people to enjoy the independence and the aesthetic pleasure of clear vision for decades beyond what was once possible.

The Human Eye And How It Works

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