Surgery is the only treatment option for cataracts, which is recommended based on the severity of the disease and the impact it will have on the daily activities of the patient. It involves removal of the cloudy lens inside your eye and replacement with an artificial one.
The latest cataract surgery comprises of advanced phacoemulsification combined with micro-incision or femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery.
Before surgery, your doctor may perform an ultrasound test of the eye. You will have to stop taking certain medications. Eyedrops are prescribed to prevent infection. You may be asked to fast 12 hours before the procedure.
You will not be able to drive after the procedure, so you should have someone ready to take you home. You may also have to arrange for home assistance.
Cataract Surgery is performed in five stages, these are:
- The operated eye will be anaesthetised by a specialist Anaesthetist.
- A small incision will then be created manually or with a laser to allow access to the cataract.
- The cataract will be broken into small pieces with an ultrasound probe (phacoemulsification) and removed.
- After the cataract is removed, an artificial lens implant will be inserted into the eye for focusing light
- The eye will be covered and you will be given refreshments before being accompanied home by your family member or carer.
An intraocular lens is an artificial lens that is used to replace your natural lens. It allows light to focus on the retina and provides clear vision in place of your natural lens. They are used in cataract surgery and refractive lens exchange surgery. There are many different types of intraocular lens implants that are available.
Your ophthalmologist will help you to choose the most suitable lens implant based on your visual needs, lifestyle and any eye conditions you may have. It is essential to appreciate that glasses may still be required to provide the sharpest focus in certain conditions despite the most suitable implants chosen.
Marsden Eye Specialists use a wide range of intraocular lenses, including premium lenses to provide you, our patients with the best possible vision, decrease your dependence on glasses, tailored to your individual eyes and lifestyle.
The types of intraocular lenses available at Marsden Eye Specialists include:
Monofocal Intraocular Lens
The traditional lens implant used for cataract and refractive procedures for many years is a monofocal intraocular lens. It is used to correct one distance, usually the distance vision for normal everyday vision such as driving. As a result, you will require glasses after the surgery, usually for near vision. This lens gives the clearest vision.
Toric Intraocular Lens
Toric lens implants can be used to correct astigmatism and decrease the dependence on glasses for normal distance vision.
Monovision Intraocular Lens
Monovision with intraocular implants is a way to compensate for near vision without reading glasses. This is achieved by implanting one eye with distance vision correction and the other eye with near vision correction. With monovision you are able to automatically switch focus from your distance eye to your reading eye instead of putting on glasses. Monovision requires compromise: you give up a little distance vision in order to gain the ability to read without glasses. After surgery your dependence on glasses will be reduced, some activities may still require glasses. The goal is to improve your quality of life.
Extended depth of focus Lens
Extended depth of focus (EDOF) lens implants offer distance vision as well as intermediate vision and some near vision. There is a mild compromise on the distance vision. After surgery, you will need glasses for near vision.
Multifocal Intraocular Lens
Multifocal lens implants provide correction for both distance vision and near vision simultaneously. After surgery you will be less dependent on glasses and may need them for certain tasks. Multifocal lens implants may involve some visual compromise and can cause more glare and haloes at night time than the monofocal lens. Therefore, multifocal lens implants may not be suitable for all individuals.
Trifocal Intraocular Lens
Trifocal lens implants provide correction for distance vision, intermediate and near vision simultaneously. After surgery glasses are not usually required for daily activities. Similar to multifocal lens implants, trifocals may involve some visual compromise and can cause more glare and haloes at night time than the monofocal lens. Therefore, trifocal lens implants may not suitable for all individuals.
At your consultation the surgical options suitable for you as an individual will be discussed thoroughly with the advantages and disadvantages of each lens type. Your Ophthalmologist will assist you in selecting the right lens for your individual needs and lifestyle. To find out more book an appointment or contact us on 02 9635 7077.
- Your operated eye will be checked regularly in the weeks following surgery
- You will be instructed to use eye drops for one month.
- Depending on the severity of your cataract, your vision will clear in a couple of days, or may take a few weeks.
- It is essential to understand that even if visual recovery is slower, the final visual outcome will still be the same.
A cataract is one of the most common eye conditions and causes blurry vision due to clouding of the natural lens in the eye.
The human lens is located behind the iris (the coloured portion of the eye), and it is mostly made up of water and proteins. These specific proteins provide the lens its transparent structure.
When a cataract occurs, the lens becomes cloudy and is seen as a white cloudy ball in the centre of the iris.
- The development of a cataract can occur with the natural aging process of an individual.
- Cataracts can also be inherited or can develop in infants as a result of infections in the mother during pregnancy.
- They can form as a complication of other diseases such as glaucoma and diabetes, or can develop after certain injuries.
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid inhalers and eye drops, and excessive exposure to UV rays, X-rays and other radiation during radiotherapy, can increase the risk of cataract formation.
Any structural change in the lens proteins can alter its clarity and negatively impact vision.
The lens becomes more and more cloudy with time when a cataract occurs, and may be viewable as white patches in the centre of the pupil.
Symptoms commonly associated with cataracts include:
- Blurry or cloudy vision
- Faded colours
- Increased glare from lights
- Poor vision at night
- Multiple images
- Frequent change in eye prescription
Initially, only a small part of the eye lens is affected, and you will not notice any vision loss. The cataract later develops and your vision gets increasingly cloudy. At an advanced stage you may experience double vision from one eye and/or increasing glare and sensitivity to bright lights.
Cataracts may be classified based on their location within the eye, which include:
Cloudiness is present in the centre of the lens.
Cloudiness is seen as white spokes in the outer periphery of the lens.
Posterior Subcapsular Cataract:
This occurs at the back of the lens capsule, which is like a shell of the lens. It may develop quicker than the other types of cataracts and it is more commonly seen in patients with diabetes or on long term steroid treatment.
Cataracts do not heal on their own or with conservative treatment. Vision loss will only get worse and will lead to blindness if not treated by surgery.
To assess the impact of the cataract on your vision, your ophthalmologist will test your visual acuity. This test involves reading an eye chart from a certain distance with one eye at a time. A comprehensive eye examination will then be performed to assess the severity of the cataract. A slit lamp examination uses a microscope to examine the structures in front of the eye such as the lens and cornea which are illuminated by a bright line of light. A retinal examination may be performed to look for problems with the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of your eyes.