Cataract Surgery: Some Important Facts to Take Informed Decision Easily
When you are somewhere around 50-year old, it is likely that your ophthalmologist may announce that you have cataracts. Cataract is the medical term to define the condition of clouding inside the natural lens of the eye. According to a renowned eye doctor in London, the condition results in your loss of vision.
Cataract-related vision loss cannot be resolved with glasses, contact lenses or corneal refractive surgeries like LASIK. Specialist eye doctors performing cataract surgery in London assure,modern surgical treatment not only restores vision of cataract patients but also reduces their dependency on glasses to a large extent.
Cataracts are a natural phenomenon that occurs due to aging. Cataract surgery has evolved over the ages as one of the safest and effective procedures in the modern times.
Basics of cataract surgery
The basics of the surgery are very simple. It removes and replaces the natural lens inside the eye, which turns cloudy, with a man-made lens to restore clear vision. The man-made lens is called IOL or intraocular lens.
The surgery is performed at outpatient department or OPD and you don’t have to stay in the hospital overnight. The surgery also makes use of high-frequency ultrasound device, which breaks down the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The fragmented pieces of your natural lens in the eye are then removed gently applying suction.
The procedure is technically called phacoemulsification or simply phaco. Compared to invasive techniques that were used in the past, phaco can be done with much smaller incisions. Thus, it offers faster healing with reduced risk of post-surgical complications.
After all the fragments of the cloudy natural lens are suctioned away, the surgeon places an intraocular lens in the same location and right behind the iris and the pupil. However, in certain cases the IOL may also be placed in front of the pupil and the iris.
The incision is then closed by a stitch although in many cases that is not even required. Finally a protective gear is placed over the eye to safeguard it during the early stages of recovery from the surgery.
Laser ray infused cataract surgery
Femtosecond lasers are similar to the laser ray, which is used to make the corneal flap in all-Laser LASIK surgeries. These days this particular type of laser ray is being widely used in cataract surgeries. As a result, use of surgical blades and other hand-held tools has been widely reduced.
Advantages of using femtosecond laser ray include the following:
- Allows creating corneal incision with greater precision to allow the surgeon access the natural lens
- Hassle-free removal of the anterior capsule of the lens
- Fragmentation of the cataract (using less phaco energy to break it down and suction the fragments out)
- Precisely creating peripheral corneal incisions to treat astigmatism
Laser cataract surgery, although it is more accurate to say laser-assisted cataract surgery, is quite latest evolution. It raises the cost of cataract surgeries significantly. Laser itself is quite costly and a cataract surgeon also has to spend money in excess for usage and maintenance of this technology.
Cataract surgery preparations
First you undergo a comprehensive eye exam to assess the overall health of your eyes. This exam also explores any alternative approach to the surgery and identifies risk factors, if any. A refraction test is also performed to correctly determine the condition of your eyes with respect to the following:
- Nearsightedness and
Some additional measurements of the eyes are also done at this stage to determine the length of the eye and curvature of the cornea. These measurements are crucial for the eye surgeon to determine the correct power of your intraocular lens so that you can get the best possible vision after a cataract surgery.
These days you have plenty of options to choose your IOL based on your particular needs.Modern range of intraocular lenses does not only correct the problems of farsightedness and nearsightedness but also astigmatism as well.
A mono-focal lens implant is used when you’re okay with wearing glasses after cataract surgery. After cataract surgery with mono-focal lens, part-time use of reading glasses is required. But if you need cataract surgery only in one eye, prescription eye glasses are needed in such cases and ophthalmologists prescribe new glasses to those patients approximately a month after the surgery.
If you have cataract surgery in both the eyes and want to reduce your dependency on glasses after cataract surgery, the cataract surgeon adjusts the power of one of the mono-focal IOLs. Alternatively, you can choose from the variety of advanced presbyopia-correcting IOLs to boost your reading vision without giving up your distant vision. Both multi-focal IOLs and accommodating IOLs come under the variety of Presbyopia-correcting IOLs and they offer greater range of vision compared to the conventional mono-focal IOLs after cataract surgery.
This modern range of IOLs is costly and does not suit everyone.
Your eye surgeon also discusses your expectations from the surgery. In short, necessary measures are taken to ensure you take an informed decision about proceeding with the surgery. It is your responsibility to discuss any doubt or any point of concern regarding the surgery with the surgeon in details before deciding on the surgery. Your cataract surgeon must know about any health condition that you may be suffering from and the medications that you are taking. Even if you are taking any non-prescription formulation that are available over the counters or any health supplement, reveal all those secrets to your cataract surgeon before undergoing cataract surgery. Some medications and supplements are likely to raise the chances of complications in the post-surgical phase. Therefore, sharing the information with your eye doctor is crucial.
Usually a cataract surgery lasts only 15 minutes, provided no complications are involved. But you must arrive at the clinic at least 90 minutes in advance. The time is essential to prepare you for the surgery, which involves dilating your pupil and administering pre-operative medications. The staffs at the clinic also tell you dos and don’ts after the surgery at this stage.
You are not allowed to drive after the surgery. Therefore you must bring someone along to drive you back home after the surgical procedure. The cataract surgeon usually checks your eye the next day to confirm your vision is up to the mark and you can safely take the driving seat once again.
You will be prescribed with medicated eye drops that are to be applied several times a day for about a week following the surgery. You also need wearing protective eye gears even while sleeping or napping for about a week. Your eyes must be protected from sunlight and any other bright light at this stage. Thus, specially designed post-operative sunglasses are also given to the patients after the surgery.
As the eyes keep healing, you are likely to experience redness in the eye and blurred vision. But these issues automatically get resolved within a few days.
During the first week following the surgery, it is crucial to avoid the following:
- Strenuous physical activity or exercises
- Lifting heavy weights (nothing above 25 lbs)
- Bending, stretching, exercising or any such activity that may stress the eye
- No water splashing into the eyes to avoid chances of infection
- No swimming or hot baths at least 2 weeks after the surgery
While taking a shower, make sure to keep the eyes closed. Your eyes are extremely prone to infection during this phase. Therefore take precautionary measures to avoid dust, grime or any other agent that may get your eyes infected.
If you feel like, just reach out to your surgeon immediately for necessary advice or guidance during the cataract post-operative stage to ensure safe and faster recovery.
If both your eyes are cataract-affected and need surgery, your surgeon will probably ask you to wait anywhere between 1 and 3 weeks before operating on the other eye. After the first eye has sufficiently healed and much of the vision is restored in that eye, only then the other eye will be operated upon.
Optimal Vision is one of the best cataract surgery Clinics in UK. We have a clean track record handling these cases. You are free to contact us for more information or book your appointment for the surgery in our clinic.