What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye that can affect vision.
What is the lens?
A lens is a transparent structure inside the eye that focuses light on the retina. The retina is a light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. After reaching the retina, the light is changed into a nerve signal that is sent to the brain. To receive a good, clear image the lens must be clear. If the lens becomes cloudy, the image becomes blurred.
What causes cataract?
Cataract can be congenital or acquired. In most people the cause is just age related. By the age of 60, 50% of people will have some degree of cataract. Cataract can also be associated with some diseases including diabetes, and is sometimes the result of an eye injury or eye disease.
The most common symptoms are blurred or foggy vision, glare and halos around lights. Colour can seem faded and double vision or multiple images in one eye can occur.
Frequent prescription changes in your glasses is also common with some types of cataract.
The only effective treatment for cataract is surgery. This only becomes necessary when the visual symptoms start to effect activities of daily living such as reading, watching tv and driving.
What is involved in cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is performed in hospital as a day surgery procedure. It is performed under local anaesthetic given by an anaesthetist in the vast majority of patients. Two or three small incisions are made and the cloudy lens (cataract) is removed by a process called phacoemulsification. A new artificial lens is inserted in its place. The operation takes around 15 to 20 minutes.
Is It Safe?
Cataract surgery is a very safe procedure with a success rate of 98%. Like all procedures, there are risks which will be discussed with you by your ophthalmologist before making any decisions to proceed.
will i need to wear glasses after cataract surgery?
There are different types of intraocular lens implants, which your ophthalmologist will discuss with you. Most patients will see well in the distance without glasses and need glasses for reading or reading tasks. Some patients may still require glasses for their best vision.