Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is a procedure to remove the lens of your eye and, in most cases, replace it with an artificial lens. Normally, the lens of your eye is clear. A cataract causes the lens to become cloudy, which eventually affects your vision.

Cataract surgery is performed by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) on an outpatient basis, which means you don't have to stay in the hospital after the surgery. Cataract surgery can be done traditionally using ultrasound energy to remove the cloudy lens or it can be removed with laser-assisted technology. Cataract surgery is very common and is generally a safe procedure.

Why Cataract Surgery is performed?

Cataract surgery is performed to treat cataracts. Cataracts can cause blurry vision and increase the glare from lights. If a cataract makes it difficult for you to carry out your normal activities, your doctor may suggest cataract surgery.

When a cataract interferes with the treatment of another eye problem, cataract surgery may be recommended. For example, doctors may recommend cataract surgery if a cataract makes it difficult for your eye doctor to examine the back of your eye to monitor or treat other eye problems such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.

In most cases, waiting to have cataract surgery won't harm your eye, so you have time to consider your options. If your vision is still quite good, you may not need cataract surgery for many years.

When considering cataract surgery, keep these questions in mind:

  • Can you see to safely do your job and to drive?

  • Do you have problems reading or watching television?

  • Is it difficult to cook, shop, do yardwork, climb stairs or take medications?

  • Do vision problems affect your level of independence?

  • Do bright lights make it more difficult to see?

What Are the risks of an Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery has few complications after the surgery and most can be treated successfully.

Risks of cataract surgery are:

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

Complications risks increases if you have another eye disease or a serious medical condition. Sometimes, cataract surgery fails to improve vision because of underlying eye issues from other conditions, such as macular degeneration or glaucoma. It is advised to treat other eye problems before making the decision to have cataract surgery.

Preparations for the Cataract Surgery

Preparations for the cataract surgery includes pre investigations like ultrasound to measure the size and shape of eye, this helps in type of lens implant to be used. Doctor may advise you to stop few medications before the surgery.

During the cataract surgery

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure which is completed in an hour or less.

Doctor will give eyedrops in eye to dilate the pupil. Local anesthesia is given to numb the area and you may be given a sedative to help you relax. During cataract surgery, the clouded lens is removed, and a clear artificial lens is implanted. In few cases, cataract may be removed without implanting an artificial lens.

There are surgical methods used to remove cataracts are:

  • During a procedure called phacoemulsification surgeon makes a tiny incision in the cornea and inserts a needle-thin probe into the lens substance where the cataract has formed.

  • Surgeon then uses the probe, which transmits ultrasound waves, to break up (emulsify) the cataract and suction out the fragments. The back of the lens is left intact to serve as a place for the artificial lens to rest. Stitches may or may not be used to close the tiny incision in the cornea at the completion of the procedure.

  • Advanced laser technique is used to remove the cloudy lens- In laser-assisted cataract surgery, the surgeon uses a laser to make all incisions and soften the cataract for removal.

  • Extracapsular cataract extraction requires a larger incision than phacoemulsification. Through this larger incision your surgeon uses surgical tools to remove the front capsule of the lens and the cloudy portion of your lens comprising the cataract. The very back capsule of your lens is left in place to serve as a place for the artificial lens to rest.

Once the cataract has been removed by either phacoemulsification or extracapsular extraction, the artificial lens is implanted into the empty lens capsule.

After the cataract surgery

Vision after cataract surgery begin improving within a few days, vision may be blurry at first as eye heals and adjusts. Colours may seem brighter after surgery because you are looking through a new lens. A cataract is usually yellow or brown tinted before surgery, muting the look of colours. Consult the eye doctor after 2 days of surgery and then again after a month to monitor healing.

It's normal to feel itching and mild discomfort for a couple of days after surgery. Avoid rubbing or pushing on your eye. Doctor may ask you to wear an eye patch on the day of surgery.

Doctor may prescribe eyedrops or other medication to prevent infection, reduce inflammation and control eye pressure. Sometimes, steroid medications can be injected into the eye at the time of surgery to keep away inflammation. After a couple of days, most of the discomfort will disappear.

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Vision loss

  • Pain that persists despite the use of over-the-counter pain medications

  • Increased eye redness

  • Light flashes or multiple new spots (floaters) in front of your eye

Most people need glasses at least some of the time after cataract surgery. Doctor will let you know when your eyes have healed enough for you to get a final prescription for eyeglasses. This is usually between one and three months after surgery.

If you have cataracts in both eyes doctor usually schedules the second surgery after the first eye has healed.

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