Improving Your Vision

Cataract surgery is a surgical treatment in which the natural lens
of your eye is replaced with an artificial lens. The lens of a healthy
eye is clear. An eye affected by cataract makes the natural lens cloudy
and hampers with the normal vision.

Cataract Surgery

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Cataract surgery is common these days and is considered a safe procedure. Ophthalmologist is the specialist who performs the cataract surgery and the patient is usually discharged on the same day of the surgery. Traditional method of removing the lens includes the use of the ultrasound energy to remove the cloudy lens or and the recent technology includes the removal of the lens with laser-assisted technology.

Need for the cataract surgery

Cataracts are treated with the help of cataract surgery. Cataracts results in a blurred vision and the person becomes sensitive to the glare from lights. As a result, the daily activities of the person are hampered.

Mostly doctors recommend the cataract surgery, when the cataract interferes with the treatment of another eye problem such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. In general, it is ok to wait for a cataract surgery till your vision is ok.

What are the risks associated with cataract surgery?

Mostly, cataract surgeries are safe and do not cause any problems, however below are some risks that might be associated with the surgery

  • Inflammation
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Dislocation of artificial lens
  • Retinal detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Secondary cataract
  • Loss of vision

If someone is suffering from other eye diseases such as macular degeneration or glaucoma the vision does not improve even after the cataract surgery.

What to do before undergoing a cataract surgery?

  • Tests. Usually a week before the surgery, your doctor performs a painless ultrasound test and measures the size and shape of your eye. This helps the doctor to decide the type of lens to be implanted in the eye example-intraocular lens, or IOL
  • Stopping some medications.   Doctor may advice certain medications which can increase the chances of bleeding during the surgery.
  • Use eye drops to reduce infection risk. Antibiotic eye drops may be prescribed for use one or two days before the surgery.
  • Stop eating before surgery. Patient may be instructed neither to eat nor to drink anything 12 hours before the surgery.

What happens in a cataract surgery?

Natural eye lens is replaced by the intraocular lens (IOL) which improves the vision of the eye. One cannot feel the lens as it becomes the part of the eye.

A variety of IOLs with different features are available and once discussed with the doctor you can opt for the one. IOLs are made of plastic, acrylic or silicone, however some IOLs are rigid plastic and implanted through an incision that requires several stitches (sutures) to close. But, many IOLs are flexible and can be placed through a smaller incision that requires minimal or no stitches.

Some common the types of lenses include:

  • Fixed-focus mono focal. This type of lens has a single focal strength and enables a better distance vision. Near vision would require the use of reading glasses.
  • Accommodating-focus mono focal. Although these lenses only have a single focusing strength, they can respond to eye muscle movements and shift focus on to near or distant objects.
  • Multifocal. These lenses are similar to glasses with bifocal or progressive lenses. Different areas of the lens have different focusing strengths, allowing for near, medium and far vision.
  • Astigmatism correction (toric). If you have a significant astigmatism, a toric lens can help correct your vision.

What happens in a cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery, usually an outpatient procedure the whole procedure is completed within an hour. The procedure starts with the placement of the eye drops in the eye which dilates the pupil. Local anesthetic is injected to make the surgery pain free. During cataract surgery, the clouded lens is removed, and a clear artificial lens is usually implanted.

Results after the surgery:

Post cataract surgery, the vision starts improving within a few days. Initially, the vision may be blurry at first as your eye heals and adjusts. Colors may appear brighter as the eye sees from the clear lens. Doctor usually calls for a follow up visit few days or weeks after the surgery.

Contact your doctor immediately if you face following problems:

  • Continuous pain in spite of taking pain killers
  • Acute redness in the eye
  • If you see spots or floaters in front of your eye.

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