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Cataracts Q&A with Dr. Viker

Abstract of Old Man's eyes, Ad for Cataracts

Q: What are the warning signs of cataracts?

Dr. Viker: Cataracts generally cause blurry vision that happens very gradually over time. Patients will typically report that they notice it has gotten harder to see at night or it feels like they are looking through smudged glasses.

Q: Is there anything I can do to avoid cataracts?

Dr. Viker: Cataracts are a normal aging process but there are steps to take that can help delay the onset of cataracts. The lens inside of the eye (where cataracts occur) is the UV filter of the eye, so wearing good sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat is beneficial in delaying cataracts. Patients who smoke tend to get cataracts sooner, so avoiding or quitting smoking is another excellent strategy.

Q: If I detect my cataracts early, can I avoid the surgery?

Dr. Viker: Once you have a cataract the only treatment is surgery. The good news is when you detect a cataract early it is often easier for the surgeon to remove since an early cataract is less dense than a llong-termcataract.

Q: Can people avoid cataracts and cataract surgery?

Dr. Viker: If you live long enough you will get cataracts and need cataract surgery. Most people get cataracts in their 60’s and 70’s, but some people get them earlier and some people get them later. The best course to delay cataracts is to wear UV protection, avoid smoking, and maintain a healthy diet and exercise program.

Q: What kind of symptoms could develop from a cataract?

Dr. Viker: Patients notice blurry vision, difficulty with night driving, and halos and glare when they have cataracts.

Q: What are IOLs and how do IOLs help after cataract surgery?

Dr. Viker: IOL stands for Intraocular Lens and it refers to the implant that is placed in the eye during cataract surgery. During cataract surgery, the natural crystalline lens that you were born with is removed and then an IOL is placed where the lens used to be. IOLs can be used to correct your distance prescription including astigmatism and in some cases can help you minimize your dependence on reading glasses.

Q: If you have a cataract does that mean you have to have it removed? When is the appropriate time?

Dr. Viker: Cataracts usually grow slowly over a period of years. This means when you are first diagnosed with a cataract you likely have a long window of time to decide when to proceed with surgery. The appropriate time to have cataract surgery varies by the patient but is typically when the cataract is impacting your vision at a significant level and/or disrupting your quality of life. Your medical insurance has guidelines that you must meet to qualify for the surgery as well.+

Q: Would prior medical conditions or medications be a problem for the cataract surgery?

Dr. Viker: Some medical conditions and medications do affect cataract surgery. For that reason, you are always required to have a pre-operative physical with your physician prior to surgery. If you have diabetes your blood sugar must be controlled as surgery cannot be performed safely if your blood sugar levels are too high. Some medications may need to be changed or stopped for a short period of time before your surgery. Your doctor and your cataract surgeon will advise you if any changes to medications are needed.

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To our valued patients,

At The Eye Doctors, Inc. the health and well-being of our patients is at the core of everything that we do. In light of the rapidly changing situation and the spread of COVID-19 we made the difficult decision to close the clinic on Tuesday, March 17 th.

At this time, the Wal-Mart Vision Center remains open limited hours for urgent glasses repairs, pick-ups of existing orders and new contact lens orders. The vision center is open every day from 10 AM to 2 PM and on Tuesdays from 6 AM to 2 PM, with the hour of 6 AM to 7 AM reserved for senior citizens.

If you are experiencing an eye emergency, please call 952-955-4427 to leave a message for one of the doctors. Messages will be checked Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM.

We are monitoring the situation closely and will re-open when it is safe to do so. We look forward to seeing you when things improve and thank you for your continued support of our practice. Please continue to our website for further information.

Dr. Melissa Viker & Dr. Britt Gustafson

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The Eye Doctors, Inc. COVID-19 Information:

Our clinic closed on March 17th and will remain closed until it is safe to re-open.  Please watch our website and Facebook page for updates.

Urgent or Emergent Eye Concerns

If you have an eye emergency, we are here to help.  Please call 952-955-4427 and one of the doctors will return your call.  The messages are monitored Monday through Saturday between 9 AM and 5 PM.  Eye emergencies include (but are not limited to): eye pain, a recent onset of redness in one or both eyes, flashes of light or sudden onset of new floaters, double vision, and sudden change/worsening of vision in one or both eyes.

Glasses and Contact Lens Orders:

The Wal-Mart Vision Center is open daily at this time from 10 AM to 2 PM and 6 AM to 2 PM on Tuesdays for limited services. The hour of 6 AM to 7 AM on Tuesdays is reserved for senior citizens.  One optician is on duty to provide urgent glasses repairs and adjustments; at this time no new orders for glasses are being accepted. Existing orders of contact lenses and glasses may be picked up from the vision center.  New orders of contact lenses can be placed in store and will be shipped to your home if we do not have the lenses in stock. Additionally, you may order contact lenses at www.walmartcontacts.com

Contact Lens Safety

There is no evidence that contact lens wearers are at greater risk for a Corona Virus infection, per the American Optometric Association Cornea and Contact Lens Section.  Please follow the below tips:

  • Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling contact lenses
  • Avoid using contact lenses if you are ill with any cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Reduce your risk for infection by avoiding sleeping, napping, swimming or showering in contact lenses
  • Replace your contact lens case every 2 months
  • Use fresh contact lens solution each time you store your lenses
  • Do not reuse single-use/daily disposable lenses