What is cataract ?
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens within the eye. The clouding of this transparent lens results in a gradual decrease in vision.
Symptoms often associated with cataract include the frequent need to upgrade glasses, normally farsighted people become able to see better closer up and blurred in the distance, and especially complaints of glare from lights at night. Cataract is more common in elderly individuals, but can be seen in all age groups, including infants. The risk of developing cataract early is higher for diabetics, people who have used cortisone for a long period, people suffering from uveitis and those who have experienced ocular trauma.
What is the treatment for cataract?
Cataract can only be treated by surgery, there is no drug therapy and after the onset of cataract any glasses used will not give sufficient results.
During surgery the cataract in the eye is removed using the grinding action of a needle which works with ultrasonic vibrations. This operation is called phacoemulsification.
Today, cataract surgery, except in special circumstances, is no longer carried out using general or local anesthesia. The patient is prepared for surgery using only eye drops, applied 4-5 times, which numb the eye. The patient simply needs to lie calmly on his back for 10-15 minutes.
Phacoemulsification is today’s most modern and established laser cataract surgery technique. This operation is done with a special device which uses ultrasonic waves. This device enters the eye and the lens with cataract is removed by fragmentation and suction. The lens is then replaced with a permanent artificial lens. The operation requires no stitches. After the operation, which lasts for approximately 10-15 minutes, the eye needs to be kept closed for one night and the next morning the bandage can be removed and the patient can see.
Today, cataract operations are no longer limited to just removing the cataract from the eye. Because of the special lens fitted into the eye, problems such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism can also be fixed. For this reason, selection of the appropriate lens is extremely important. After surgery, as a result of multifocal intraocular lenses, patients can see both near and far without using glasses. The appropriate intraocular lens eyes is identified as a result of a detailed examination before the operation takes place.
If blurred vision is making reading difficult and daily activities such as watching television or driving a car hard to do, then cataract surgery can be carried out. There is no need to wait before surgery for the cataract to mature. The decision of when to operate is determined by the patient’s needs. These days,surgery can be performed even in the early stages of cataract, when the effects are very minor, in order to correct vision defects in patients who wear glasses and have a high degree of myopia or hyperopia. Operations which are carried out in the later stages of cataracts may take longer, as during cases of late cataracts the lens hardens, and there is an increased risk of problems developing during the operation.