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What are Cataracts, and what are my options?

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What exactly are cataracts?

Dr. Darren Behn: Cataracts typically begin to develop in the natural lens of the eye as we age into our 40s and beyond, causing our vision to become cloudy or diminished. The lens begins to harden and become less flexible. It is estimated that roughly 2.5 million Canadians are affected by cataracts.

How does cataract surgery work?

Dr. Olivia Dam: During cataract surgery, a miniscule incision is made to allow for the breakup and removal of the cataract. Then the surgeon replaces the natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens [IOL]. The procedure has lifelong benefits as cataracts do not grow on the newly implanted artificial lens.

What about laser cataract surgery?

Dr. Behn: Laser cataract surgery offers a more refined vision restoration experience, as laser use allows for a safer, less invasive procedure with a level of precision that cannot be mimicked by hand alone. Ophthalmologists are excited about the industry advancements that laser-assisted surgery brings to their patients.

Is laser cataract surgery available here?

Dr. Behn: In Victoria, BC, founding partners Dr. Olivia Dam and myself have built VICTORIA EYE, a clinic and a private on-site surgical centre which is the first and only laser cataract surgery centre on Vancouver Island. VICTORIA EYE is currently celebrating its successful and award-winning first year.

The doctors in our practice have over one hundred years of combined experience that we bring to our patients every day. We have on-site diagnostics, counselling and treatments as well as our private surgery centre for laser cataract surgery and other procedures. We see local, out-of-town and international patients.

Why do you have a private surgery on-site?
Dr. Dam: We wanted to offer patients customizable procedure options and the best possible outcomes using the latest technology. Refractive laser-assisted cataract surgery is currently available only privately in BC. We also treat patients with astigmatism, refractive errors, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other eye health concerns.

Who is the typical cataract  surgery patient?

Dr. Dam: Patients typically develop cataracts in their 50s and onward, so we do have a strong senior patient population, but we also see patients who have developed early cataracts that may be younger than 40. As cataracts can be removed with surgery, patients are eager to regain the best possible vision.

Drs. Darren Behn and Dr. Olivia Dam are Canadian ophthalmologists who aspire to bring global excellence to Victoria, BC.

Dr. Behn’s fellowship in glaucoma involved training at Moorfields Eye Hospital, which is the world leader in cataract surgery, training and research.

Dr. Dam participated in a cataract surgery outreach in South Africa and experienced the miracle of restoring sight to a blind elderly woman, which led to her passion for ophthalmology. She continues to participate in initiatives in developing nations to stay connected with the global impact of vision restoration.

Visit for more information and to contact Dr. Behn and Dr. Dam for a free consultation if you are in need of vision restoration services.

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