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Cataract Surgery

Dr. S. Asha Balakrishnan examines a patientA cataract is a clouding of the normally clear, transparent lens of the eye. A cataract is not a tumor or growth of new tissue over or in the eye; rather, it is a fogging and loss of clarity of the lens itself. With cataract progression, the lens becomes increasingly cloudy, making it more and more difficult for light to be focused onto the retina. This leads to problems with blurred vision, glare with bright lights, halos around bright lights, and difficulty with nighttime vision (particularly driving at night).  It can impact your quality of life making it more difficult to drive, or simply enjoy a movie or read a book.

Cataract surgeons at UofL Physicians – Eye Specialists are specialized in surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a plastic implant. Cataract extraction is one of the most common operations performed in the United States. Over 90 percent of people who have the surgery enjoy improvement in their vision and quality of life.

When facing cataract surgery, every patient is unique and requires a physician who is specially trained to address the best surgical approach for you and your lifestyle.  At UofL Physicians – Eye Specialists, you can be assured our surgeons are proficient in the latest surgical technologies and are dedicated to staying at the forefront of the advancing field. 


What causes cataracts?

Although no single cause has been identified, links between cataract development and age, ultraviolet light exposure, and diabetes, among other things. Researchers believe there could be several causes of cataracts, including smoking, diabetes and excessive exposure to sunlight.

UofL Physicians – Eye Specialists  treats multiple types of cataracts, including:

  • Age-related cataracts – develop with time 
  • Congenital cataracts – present at birth or develop in early childhood, usually in both eyes
  • Secondary cataracts – develop in people with medical conditions, such as diabetes, or those who use steroids
  • Traumatic cataracts – develop as a result of an eye injury

Signs and Symptoms

  • Decreased or blurred vision, often described as foggy, hazy or cloudy, or as a “film” over their vision
  • Double vision
  • Halo around lights
  • “Second sight” – when someone who normally wears reading glasses can suddenly read without them
  • Brown spots in the viewing area

Who is most at risk?

The following factors may increase a person’s risk for developing cataracts:

  • Age – older than 50
  • Gender – women have a higher risk than men
  • Smoking
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight
  • Genetic diseases, such as Down syndrome
  • Certain medications, such as steroids
  • Metabolic disorders, such as diabetes
  • Eye disorders, such as glaucoma
  • High-voltage electrical injury


When cataracts interfere with daily activities and vision with glasses is no longer useful, surgery is the most effective treatment. The surgery consists of replacing the cloudy lens with a plastic lens implant that is intended to last for the rest of the patient’s life. This implant can correct for distance, intermediate, or near vision or for multiple ranges at once. The surgeons at UofL Physicians – Eye Specialists are skilled at implanting a variety of intraocular lenses that include advanced lenses for premium vision correction (to correct astigmatism and presbyopia). We firmly believe in the value of cataract surgery as an opportunity to pursue exceptional vision correction that best suits your lifestyle and daily needs.

Traditional Cataract Surgery - Phacoemulsification

We remove almost all cataracts with a technique called phacoemulsification. In phacoemulsification, a tiny vibrating ultrasonic instrument is passed through a very small incision (2.5-3 mm) into the eye and then into the cataract. This instrument creates high-energy sound waves that break the cataract into tiny particles. Simultaneously, these particles are gently vacuumed out of the eye. Phacoemulsification permits us to take the cataract out through a small incision. This allows faster healing after surgery, stronger wound healing, and reduction in the amount of astigmatism that is present after surgery.

Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery

The most recent breakthrough in technology for cataract surgery is the arrival of laser-assisted cataract surgery (femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery). In this surgery, we use a laser for certain steps of traditional cataract surgery. A near-infrared beam of light allows light to be focused to a very small size. This can be used to make corneal incisions, create the opening in the shell that surrounds the lens, and to soften and fragment the lens into smaller pieces before removal with the ultrasonic handpiece. This technology is very safe and successful in patients. Some of our surgeons offer laser-assisted cataract surgery as well as standard cataract surgery. Prior to surgery, you and your UofL Physicians – Eye Specialists surgeon will review and discuss these surgical options to determine the best choice for you. 

Cataract Consultation

Your cataract consultation at UofL Physicians – Eye Specialists will include testing to determine whether your cataract is affecting your vision enough to warrant surgery, as well as additional tests for preoperative planning. We firmly believe in the value of cataract surgery as an opportunity to pursue exceptional vision correction that best suits your lifestyle and daily needs. At your consultation appointment, you will have the opportunity to discuss your options and goals for surgery with your surgeon and have any questions answered. Our surgeons operate in a variety of surgery centers in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

Physicians in this practice may not see patients at all locations listed below. For details, please call the appointment line for the location you are interested in visiting.

Offices and Clinics

  • Downtown - Kentucky Lions Eye Center
    301 E. Muhammad Ali Blvd.
    Louisville, Kentucky 40202
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  • Springs Medical Center
    6400 Dutchmans Parkway
    Suite 310
    Louisville, Kentucky 40205
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Hospital Affiliations

  • University of Louisville Hospital
  • Jewish Hospital
  • Norton Children’s Hospital
  • Robley Rex VA Medical Center
  • Frazier Rehab Institute

Dr. S. Asha Balakrishnan in surgeryThe UofL Physicians – Eye Specialists team is comprised of ophthalmologists and optometrists. We have specialized training in the full range of eye conditions, from cataracts, corneal disease, refractive surgery, and glaucoma surgery to oculoplastics, contact lens fitting, and retinal surgery. We have trained at the finest institutions, both in the United States and abroad, and are focused on delivering the best patient care possible. Our surgeons are proficient in the latest surgical technologies and are dedicated to staying at the forefront of the advancing field.

Our physicians teach and do research in the University of Louisville School of Medicine. We have access to the latest treatments and clinical trials for patients with various eye diseases and conditions through collaboration with doctors and researchers at the University of Louisville and other institutions worldwide. 

Next Steps

For more information or to make an appointment,
call 502-588-6000