Conditions & Treatments

Cataracts — A cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye.  Dr. Alpern has conducted extensive research on cataracts, and invented a widely used intraocular lens implant to treat cataracts.


Cataracts commonly occur as people age.  When the lens becomes cloudy, light can no longer pass easily through the lens.  Vision becomes blurry, colors fade, and seeing at night becomes increasingly difficult.  Sometimes people with cataracts perceive halos around lights, or have double vision.  Early symptoms of cataracts include a need for brighter light for reading or repeated changes in eyeglass prescription.


To determine whether you have cataracts, we first give you a simple vision test, and then dilate your eyes so the doctor can see the lens more clearly.  The vast majority of our patients require no further treatment than eye glasses.  If the doctor does conclude that you have significant cataracts, the next step is to find out if your eyes are healthy enough for treatment. The Cataract and Glaucoma Center has El Paso’s largest array of instrumentation to help evaluate your case before surgery, taking all possible steps to ensure successful treatment.  Every step of this evaluation is painless.  In most cases, you are asked to look into an instrument, and will feel nothing at all. 


Next, the doctor will select a new intraocular lens (IOL) to replace your cataract.  Depending on your needs, he will select from a standard IOL, a multi-focal IOL that allows you to see near and far, or an IOL that corrects astigmatism. 


To fully restore vision in an eye affected by cataracts, surgery is required.  Cataract surgery is quick, generally painless, and requires brief recovery time.  All such procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, and you don’t need to go to the hospital.  Surgery is performed at one of two Ambulatory Surgical Centers.  These sites are equipped with excellent technical nursing staff and skilled anesthetists especially trained in eye surgery anesthesia and state of the art instrumentation. 


You are given a mild sedative, but remain conscious during the procedure, called phacoemulsification.  The cataract is removed with a gentle ultrasound assisted technique, and the new lens implant replaces the cataractous lens. After the surgery is complete, you rest in the recovery room for half an hour or as needed.  Vision improves dramatically for most patients right away.  For some, vision enhancement is more gradual. 


Dr. Buck or Dr. Alpern will see you the next day at The Cataract and Glaucoma Center in El Paso, Texas.  Typically, patients can return to most normal activities the day after surgery.