When the lens of one or both eyes is clouding and causes blurry vision, it means that the patient is suffering from cataract. This condition is primarily caused by aging, but it can also be triggered by an injury of physical or chemical origin. Certain drugs like corticosteroids or statin medication (reduces cholesterol) are also factors that can induce cataract, as it’s family history or prolonged ultraviolet radiation exposure (sunlight). This health issue can also surface as a symptom of other more serious illnesses like Diabetes and Hypertension. Considering all this, there it’s no wonder that Cataract reparatory surgery is one of the most frequent medical procedures performed in the U.S.
Cataract Surgery Facts
This procedure is performed by an ophthalmologist, which is a doctor that handles eye health. He replaces the cataract-affected lens of your eye with a man-made one. Although it might sound complicated, this surgery is considered routine in modern medicine. The actual procedure lasts less than 60 minutes, if we exclude the time spent with preparations. It’s performed on an outpatient basis, which means that you check-out the same day.
Cataract surgery has a very high success rate, with and average of 98 out of 100 procedures completed without complications. In the worst case scenario, if side effects occur they are treatable. However, risks can be increased if your eyes have additional health problems along with cataract. Only your surgeon will be able to provide you with the most accurate information regarding your risks, in this case. Usually, it’s advised that other eye conditions should be treated first, before opting for cataract surgery.
You can fell the positive effects of the surgery, vision wise from the first day after your surgery. However, maximum results should come along with a new pair of glasses, prescribed after the procedure. On long term you shouldn’t have any cataract problems for the lest of your life, because the implanted lenses are made to last. In some cases, you need to return to your ophthalmologist’s office, after a few months or years, for a small 5-minute YAG laser incision that handles the outer lining wall of your old cataract-affected lens. This wall remains after surgery to support the artificial implant, if your surgery was done using extracapsular cataract extraction.
Cataract Procedure Details
The surgery begins with the dilatation of your pupils. The doctor drips eyedrops in your eye to achieve this. Next, the patient is locally anesthetized and can also receive a sedative for relaxation.
Surgery can commerce and will unfold in two ways. The eye doctor can either decide to go for a small incision in the side of your cornea and use an ultrasound to breakup the lens and vacuum it out, or opt for a larger incision and cut the front capsule of the lens. The first and more common method is called phacoemulsification, while the second one is used rarely when other eye problems such as, age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma, are present. It’s named extracapsular cataract extraction.
After the cataract has been removed from your eye, the surgeon will replace it with an artificial lens, made of silicone, acrylic, or plastic. The man-made lens is also know as intraocular lens (IOL). It comes with an optical power personalized for your eye, in order to restore eyesight and lower your eyeglass dependency. The IOL can be bifocal to assist both distant and near vision are can have the property to block UV light. Your choice should be carefully discussed with your doctor before surgery.
Immediately after the procedure its perfectly normal to feel a sensation of irritation and suffer from light sensitivity. Eyedrops are prescribed up to a few weeks after surgery in order to prevent infection and help healing.