What is Cataract?
The clouding of the natural lens in the eye is called cataract. The loss of transparency causes an impairment of light transmission to the retina.
Cataracts can blur vision for reading and distance. They can also cause glare by scattering light, particularly while driving at night. Both eyes are usually affected, but not necessarily symmetrically. A cataract which predominantly affects one eye may be unnoticed unless the good eye is closed.
Cataracts generally cause a progressive loss of vision. An abrupt loss of vision is almost always caused by other conditions and must be followed without delay by an ophthalmologist.
Cataract risk factors:
Cataracts are age-related and are sometimes diagnosed in people under the age of 55 years. Early formation of a cataract is more common in association with diabetes, inflammatory eye disease, steroid use, certain congenital and genetic conditions and trauma. Smoking and excessive sunlight exposure have also been associated with a greater risk of cataract formation and declined visual function.
Reading in poor lighting and not wearing your glasses does not cause a cataract.
Cataracts cannot be treated with eye exercise, medications or alternative therapy. The treatment of cataracts is surgical.
When should surgery be performed?
The presence of a cataract does not always warrant surgery. The most reasonable indication for performing cataract surgery is due to reduced visual function which impacts an individual's life. During the early phase of cataract formation, prescription of new glasses may help. However, changing glasses is only a temporary measure, and surgery may be required with time.
The ophthalmic evaluation:
You will undergo a comprehensive vision test.
A through examination of the eye by our surgeons.
Measurements of the eye (biometry) to determine the. diopter (optical power) of the implanted lens.
Assessment of astigmatism for intra-operative correction.
If we find prior retinal disease such as diabetic retinopathy, advanced glaucoma, or optic nerve conditions we will give you an educated opinion regarding the potential for improved vision after surgery.
In healthy eyes, the chances for successful operations are excellent.
The operative procedure:
Cataract surgery is usually performed under local topical anesthesia with eye drops. The opaque natural lens is removed through a tiny corneal incision, and an artificial lens is implanted into the natural lens capsule. The new lens will stay in the eye for life.
Cataract surgery with laser
Femtosecond laser technology enables the surgeon to perform specific incisions in the cornea and the lens during the cataract operation automatically with great accuracy. After the laser is used, the surgery continues in the traditional manner: the lens is removed via phacoemulsification, the gentle lens capsule is meticulously cleaned and polished, and an artificial lens is carefully implanted and positioned.
Research has shown that patients who had cataract surgery with laser had a very accurate incision of the lens capsule which permitted accurate position and centration of the implanted lens.
What should be expected after the operation?
Immediately following surgery, the vision will be slightly blurry and there may be vision with a pinkish or bluish tinge. Sometimes a sensation of flashing lights may temporarily be noticed. Within a day, most commonly there is a significant improvement and clarity of vision.