A cataract is an opacity or cloudiness in the natural lens of the eye. It is still the leading cause of blindness worldwide. In India it is commonly known as Safed Motia. When the lens is partially opaque, it is called an immature cataract and some light can pass through to help perform some routine functions. However, when the opacity increases to engulf the entire lens, vision is totally cut off and the cataract is mature.
Just as a smudged or dirty camera lens may spoil a photograph, opacity in the natural lens of the eye can result in a blurred image. Patients with cataracts usually complain of blurred vision either at a distance, near, or both. This may interfere with tasks such as driving or reading. Other common complaints include glare, halos, and dimness of color vision. However, none of these symptoms are seen exclusively in cataracts.
Initially, some help is achieved by changing the spectacle number, but in advanced cases, the spectacles also prove to be ineffective.
The first thing a person must do on experiencing any of these symptoms is to consult an eye surgeon (Ophthalmologist) giving details of one’s symptoms and getting one’s eyes thoroughly examined. Answers to the following questions should be sought :
Do I have cataracts?
Do I have any other eye disease?
What is the cause of the cataract in my eye?
What are the treatment modalities available?
What treatment would be most suitable for me?
What is the expected outcome of the treatment/surgery in my case?
What are the risks involved and possible complications?
How long can I wait before I get operated?
What does the surgery involve in terms of time and expenditure?
What is the treatment for Cataracts?
There are no medicines to treat cataracts. The answer lies only in surgery where the cataract is removed and replaced by an intra-ocular lens
The results of cataract surgery depend largely on the skill of the operating doctor, the availability of the latest equipment the technique of surgery, and the type of implant used. Eye Infections and damage (Surgically) are the most difficult to treat hence reputed Centres where all facilities are available and which have good patient inflow (Good Eye OPD) give the best results.
Specialized eye centers deal better with complicated cases
Cataract surgery today is typically performed using a micro-incisional procedure called Phaco-emulsification. To the patient, this means minimal discomfort during or after surgery, a speedy recovery of vision, and reduced risk of induced astigmatism. This means less dependence on glasses afterward.
It is typically done through an incision less than 2.5 millimeters in size. Because of the careful construction of this incision, and its small size, the incision is generally self-sealing. This translates to a “no-stitch” type operation.
A Phaco needle is introduced through the opening and ultrasonic vibrations are used to break the cataract into smaller fragments which are sucked out through this needle. An artificial lens called a foldable Intra-Ocular lens is now injected through this small opening. Once inside the eye, it opens up and serves to replace the original lens.
The main advantages of Phaco are that a person has a good vision the very next day and may resume routine activities also the very next day. Stitches and related problems are things of the past. A person may now accomplish routine activities without spectacles, however, a little spectacle correction may be required for fine focusing for distance and near. It is better for diabetic and hypertensive patients.
The great majority of patients may resume normal activities on the day of or the day after surgery. Though the best vision may not be obtained until several weeks following surgery, but individual results vary considerably, depending on many variables. Activities such as reading, watching television, and light work will not hurt the operated eye.
Most surgeons arbitrarily recommend waiting 4 to 6 weeks before new glasses are prescribed. This allows the eye to achieve considerable stability from a refractive standpoint and, therefore, the glasses prescription should be accurate and relatively stable.
Many patients are surprised at how clear their vision is after cataract surgery. Some patients may have better vision than they ever did before cataract surgery. Furthermore, depending on the degree of refractive error (need for glasses) prior to surgery, many patients will be much less dependent on glasses for far vision than they were before surgery. Patients will often notice that colors are brighter and more brilliant.
It is easier and safer to operate on an immature cataract by Phaco. As the cataract matures, it tends to become harder requiring more Phaco energy to do the same job. Beyond a certain limit, excess energy may cause harm to the eye.
Foldable Lens: This lens has a diameter of 6.0 mm and is made of either Silicon or Soft Acrylic. On folding, its diameter is reduced to 2.55 mm and it can be introduced into the eye through a sub 2.5 mm incision, where it unfolds automatically to take its position. The main advantage of this lens is that there is fast visual recovery in the patient.
Non-foldable Lens: This lens has a diameter of 5.5 mm. A 3 mm incision has to be enlarged to 5.5 mm to introduce this lens. However, the incision still remains self-sealing and requires no sutures in most of the cases.
Aberration-Free Foldable Lens: This lens is like a foldable lens in all ways, except that it’s an aspheric lens. It reduces glare in the patient and is very useful for patients who would like to drive at night.
Multifocal Lens: This is also a type of foldable lens that has distance as well as near power in it. After its implantation, patients will become much less dependent on glasses for near as well as distance. However, if you have cylindrical power in your glasses, you may need corrective lenses for fine work.
The lens that we use is a fixed-powered lens. This is focused between the distance and the near vision more so for distance as this is the vision that is in use most of the time. As a result, a person after the Phaco procedure will be able to perform routine activities without glasses distance. However, a little spectacle correction would be required for fine focusing of distance and near vision.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.
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