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Cataract Surgery

Cataract and Cataract Surgery

What is cataract?

Cataract form when the lens loses transparency and becomes cloudy.

Cataract symptoms include:

  • blurred vision,
  • double vision in one eye,
  • faded or yellowish colors,
  • halo around light,
  • difficulty seeing at night,
  • discomfort when exposed to bright light,
  • frequent changes in eye glasses.

Are there different types of cataract?

Cataracts are classified into several types based on the hardness of the lens and the location of the cloudiness in the lens. For example, a cataract located at the back of the lens (posterior subcapsular cataract) may cause more symptoms and progress more quickly, necessitating early surgery. Nuclear cataract (in the center of the lens) and cortical cataract are two other locations (outer surface of the lens).

Is cataract an elderly disease?

Cataracts are most common in middle-aged and older people. It can, however, be diagnosed as an inborn disease in newborns and babies. Furthermore, people with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or long-term steroid use may develop cataracts earlier in life. Cataracts can also be caused by eye trauma.

What are the risk factors for cataract development?

  • Diabetes,
  • previous eye surgery,
  • chronic kidney disease,
  • uveitis (inflammation of the eye),
  • long-term steroid usage,
  • previous eye trauma,
  • smoking, obesity,
  • excessive alcohol consumption,
  • long-term, uncontrolled hypertension

Is there any drug to treat cataract?

There is no medication available to treat cataracts. Cataract surgery is the only effective treatment. The primary goal of cataract surgery is to restore vision in patients who have decreased visual acuity and quality. During the surgery, the clouded lens of the patient is replaced with a new, clear intraocular lens. Every year, approximately 19 million cataract surgeries are performed worldwide.

How is cataract diagnosed?

Ophthalmic examination is used to diagnose cataract development. As a result, every healthy person should have an eye exam once a year. However, if you notice any changes in your vision, you should consult an opthalmologist.

In general, cataract symptoms emerge gradually and gradually. As a result, the patient may miss or dismiss the earlier symptoms of cataract. When a patient's vision is impaired and causing difficulties in daily activities such as reading or driving at night, he or she usually consults an opthalmologist.

Steps of a complete eye exam to diagnose cataract

The following steps are taken with all patients for a thorough eye exam in order to diagnose cataract:

  • Slit-lamp examination for identifying the type of cataract and its severity,
  • applanation tonometry for intraocular pressure measurement,
  • retinal exam after dilating the pupil with special eye drops,
  • eye tomography (OCT) for checking optic nerve and macula,
  • corneal topography for evaluating eye surface,
  • performing a corneal endothelial cell count (specular microscopy),
  • optometry for intraocular lens measurement

Laser surgery for cataract

Most patients have topical anesthesia during the surgical procedure, which takes about 10-20 minutes. The patient will not need to stay in the hospital and may be released one hour after surgery.

The standard method for cataract surgery is currently "Phacoemulsification (Phaco)" surgery. The general public refers to this as "laser surgery." A small incision (2,2 mm) is made in the cornea first with this method.

The lens is then emulsified (broken up into small pieces) and aspirated (sucked up) from the eye using an ultrasonic hand-held device through this cut. A new, folded lens is inserted into the eye using a special syringe through the same incision. Because the corneal cut is so small, no stitches are required.

The success of cataract surgery is dependent on the experience of the ophthalmic surgeon, the advanced surgical equipment used, and the quality of the lens and materials used during the surgery.

The cloudiness of the vision disappears after the operation, and visual acuity returns to normal in a few days. There is a noticeable difference in vision before and after surgery. Healing usually takes a few days to a few weeks, and you may experience some discomfort in your eyes for the first few days after surgery.

If you require cataract surgery in both eyes, your ophthalmologist will advise you on the best time to have the second eye operated on.

Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery (FLACS)

This is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved methodology that uses a computer-assisted laser device to improve traditional Phaco surgery.

The type, length, and location of the corneal cut to be performed are loaded into the computer using FLACS. The incision and breaking up of the lens are then performed by laser. This procedure is more precise than the phaco method and requires less phacoemulsification energy.

Is it possible to get rid of both reading and distant glasses after cataract surgery?

When trifocal lenses are used during cataract surgery, patients can maintain normal vision without glasses at all distances. These specialized lenses can provide clear vision for near, intermediate, and far distances.

These lenses, however, may not be suitable for everyone. A thorough evaluation is required prior to surgery to determine the suitability of these lenses for a specific patient.

The opthalmologist inquires about the patient's occupation and daily activities, as well as the significance of near, intermediate, and/or distant vision for the patient. Furthermore, age, social activities, reading habits, and intellectual level are important considerations when selecting the type of lenses for surgery.

The patient should not have diabetes, advanced glaucoma, or retinal disease before receiving trifocal lenses. The size of the pupil and the regularity of the cornea are both important considerations.

The cost of cataract surgery

The cost of the surgery is determined by the surgical technique (laser or non-laser) and the type of lenses used (trifocal, EDOF, trifocal toric, EDOF toric, monfocal toric lenses for astigmatism, etc.).

As a result, exact pricing will be available only after a thorough ophthalmic examination and discussion with the patient to determine the best type of surgery and intraocular lenses for the operation.

What happens if the cataract surgery is delayed?

The importance of timely cataract surgery cannot be overstated. Delays in treating hard cataracts may increase surgical risks and complications. Special lenses (such as trifocal, toric, and "smart" lenses) may not be appropriate for patients with delayed cataracts.

How to prevent development of cataract?

Cataracts develop to some extent in everyone as they get older. The following precautions may help to prevent or postpone the development of cataracts:Having regular eye exams,

  • Wearing UV-filtering sunglasses,
  • eating a healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruits,
  • maintaining a normal blood sugar level,
  • quitting smoking,
  • limiting alcohol consumption.