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About Cataract Surgery at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center at UAB Highlands in Birmingham, AL

By Marc Michelson, M.D.

About Cataract Surgery
With the growing population of seniors and “baby boomers” in and around Birmingham, at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, P.C., we find more and more patients asking about laser cataract surgery. Modern cataract surgery today is safe, effective and predictable. In fact cataract surgery is one of the safest and most frequently performed surgical procedures available in the United States with more than 2.5 million people having cataract surgery each year. At Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, P.C., our cataract surgeon, Marc Michelson, M.D .is a cataract specialists who combine the use of a small incision, “no stitch no patch no needle” technique that can be performed with the femtosecond laser on an outpatient basis at The Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital or the Birmingham Outpatient Care Center to provide you with laser cataract surgery in a comfortable, convenient and close to home AAAHC, Medicare and State of Alabama certified ambulatory surgery center. The entire process usually requires only two hours of your time from start to finish. The actual surgical procedure is painless and takes less than 15 minutes. Our nurses and staff are present to help us with your actual surgery as well as to assist you and make your experience pleasant.

The Cataract Operation
Your cataract operation will begin with a few sets of drops being placed in your eye to dilate your pupil. Your eye will then be treated with an anesthetic-almost always a few additional sets of drops to numb the surface of your eye-so that you will feel little if anything during your surgery. In addition you will be given a tablet to swallow to help you relax

If you are undergoing femtosecond lLaser cataract surgery, Dr. Micheson will program the laser to perform all of the necessary incisions in the eye, create an opening in the lens, and fragment the lens to make it easy to remove. This is all completed in a very controlled and precise manner in less than a minute.  Additional incisions to treat low levels of astigmatism treatments can also be performed simultaneously.  This primary incision created by the laser will be just large enough to allow a microscopic instrument the size of a pen tip to pass through it. It is possible to for your cataract surgeon to make this tiny incision with a traditional instrument, or using the laser if you are having laser cataract surgery.

Next, your eye surgeon will gently pass a microscopic instrument through the tiny incision and create an opening in the capsule of the crystalline lens to allow access to the cloudy lens material. This step, called “capsulotomy” also can be performed by your surgeon either manually or with the laser if you are having a laser cataract surgery procedure.

Your cataract surgeon will gently pass another sophisticated high technology microscopic instrument through the tiny incision. Sound waves or “Ultrasound” produced at the tip of the instrument will be used to gently break the cataract into pieces small enough to be washed away, drawn through the instrument and removed from your eye. This cataract removal technique is called “phacoemulsification” and is preferred for most patients.

After the cataract has been removed, your eye surgeon will be able to insert a new, crystal clear permanent Intraocular Lens Implant (IOL) into your eye. The replacement lens will actually be inserted and placed in the correct position through the same tiny incision at the outer edge of the cornea through which the surgeon removed the cataract.

Upon completion of your cataract and lens implant surgery, Dr. Michelson will have one of the surgery center staff members take you to a comfortable place where you will be able to rest and relax prior to going home. After resting for a short while, a surgery staff member will give you permission to have a family member or friend drive you home.

Your surgeon will arrange to see you at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center within 24 hours of your cataract and lens implant surgery so he can examine you in order to confirm that you are healing and seeing as planned. The doctors will also prescribe some eye drops for you to use and may ask you to wear a protective shield, mainly at night, to remind you not to accidentally rub your eye. Although each patient will heal a little bit differently, the majority of patients having cataract surgery with Dr. Michelson are able to see well enough to return to their routine daily activities within a day or so after their cataract surgery.

An Important Note about Cataract Surgery
A significant number of men in their 50’s and 60’s and beyond experience an enlarged prostate as part of the aging process. Today, many of men are taking the prescription medication Flomax® or other similar medications that are members of the class of drugs called “alpha-antagonists” or “alpha blockers”. These may include Hytrin® (terazosin), Cardura (doxazosin), Flomax® (tamsulosin), Uroxatral® (alfuzosin) and Rapaflo® (silodosin).

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU NOTIFY OUR STAFF BEFORE YOU HAVE CATARACT SURGERY IF YOU ARE TAKING ANY MEDICATION FOR AN ENLARGED PROSTATE

Certain medications commonly used to treat an enlarged prostate can cause abnormal movement of muscles controlling the opening and closing of the Iris. During cataract surgery, the pupil must stay enlarged or dilated to allow your cataract surgeon to easily view the Crystalline Lens. Flomax® and certain other alpha-blockers including Hytrin®, Cardura and Uroxatral® in particular can interfere with pupil dilation, creating a condition known as Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome (IFIS). If you are taking one of these medications and alert any member of our staff, Dr. Michelson will be able to take extra care to make sure the pupil stays dilated to prevent unexpected complications during your cataract surgery. 

If you, a family member or friend wish to learn more about cataract surgery or wish to be checked for cataracts please contact us to arrange a cataract evaluation by calling Alabama Eye & Cataract Center at 205-930-0930.