Cataracts usually develop with age as a result of the lens losing its transparency. However, they can also develop in newborns, or due to trauma or the long-term use of cortisone-containing drugs.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CATARACTS?
A gradual decrease in vision
Double vision (diplopia)
Sensitivity to light, scattered lights
Frequent change in glass prescriptions
HOW ARE CATARACTS TREATED?
The only treatment of cataracts is through surgery.
The most commonly used method in cataract surgery is ‘phacoemulsification’, or as it is more widely known, ‘phaco’. The phaco method includes entering the eye through a 2.2-mm incision. Afterward, a fine needle is inserted into the eye to break down the lens with cataracts, which is then removed and replaced with a synthetic foldable intraocular lens. The procedure does not require surgical sutures as the incision is very small. The patient is discharged on the same day. The Femto-LASIK method has recently become a popular option for phaco. This method improves the classical phaco method in several ways: replacing lancets with a laser when incising the cornea, replacing forceps in capsulorhexis, that is the removal of the capsule of the lens to access the lens itself, and most significantly, allowing for a faster, more effective disintegration of the lens, which allows the materials to be removed with the phaco device much more quickly with much less effort. A shorter and easier procedure translates into a lower risk of edema in the cornea.
The successful outcome of the cataract surgery will depend on the physician’s experience, sterile conditions, and the quality of the synthetic intraocular lens. Cataract surgery should not be performed on two eyes simultaneously accounting for the possibility of infection. Patients are recommended to have the their two eyes operated on two separate day at least 5-6 days apart.
HOW WILL MY NEAR AND DISTANT VISION BE AFTER CATARACT SURGERY?
In the past, the synthetic intraocular lenses that were inserted into the eye after cataract surgery could only correct distant vision, and the patients required glasses for near vision. The developing technology has made it possible to produce multifocal (or so-called ‘smart’) lenses which make it possible for the patients to have a clear near and distant vision. These multifocal (smart) lenses can also be used for the correction of refractive errors of the eye in patients aged 55-60, even without cataracts. Smart lenses cannot be applied to everyone, for example, patients with diabetic retinopathy or any other disorder of the retina cannot benefit from multifocal lenses.
I’ve previously undergone cataract surgery and was inserted a monofocal (distant vision) intraocular lens. Can I still get a smart lens to improve my near vision as well?
Yes, the new intraocular lens makes it possible for you to see both near and far. The new lens can be placed on top of the original lens. The procedure will take approximately 5 minutes.