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What are Cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. The lens is located behind the iris, the coloured part of the eye. It focuses light rays into a sharp image on the retina, which is the equivalent of the film in a camera. A cataract will therefore prevent a clear picture being formed on the retina.
What Causes Cataracts?
Cataracts most commonly occur as part of the aging process but may result from injuries, certain drugs, inflammation in the eye or illness such as diabetes.
What are the symptoms?
Early changes in the lens may not disturb vision but as the cataract develops people experience the gradual onset of several symptoms:
- Blurred vision & difficulty reading
- Glaze & sensitivity to light
- Tendency to short-sightedness
- Colours may appear faded or have a yellowish tinge
- Cataracts DO NOT cause pain, itching or redness.
When deteriorating vision begins to interfere with your work, driving or lifestyle cataract surgery should be considered.
What Happens at the Clinic?
Your surgeon will examine your eyes and will discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with you.
If you decide to proceed, measurements of the eye will be taken (biometry) which enable your surgeon to choose the appropriate lens implant for your eye.
All in a day
Modern cataract surgery has made long hospital stays a thing of the past. You do not need to change into a hospital gown. Even better there are no painful injections and negligible discomfort during or after the operation.
- In the ward drops are put into the eye to dilate the pupil upon arrival.
- In the Operating theatre:
The skin around the eye is cleaned with antiseptic and sterile drapes are placed around the head and face.
For your comfort a tube blows fresh air under the drapes during the short operation.
Anaesthetic eye drops are instilled so no injections are necessary.
Under an operating microscope a small incision is made into the eye. State of the art technology enables your surgeon to remove the cloudy lens by a process known as phaco-emulsification. A new lens implant is then inserted into the eye. The incision does not normally require stitches and is normally pain-free.
- You will rest in a reclining chair with a cup of tea or coffee but will be able to go home after an hour
- A protective shield is worn for the first few nights.
- Eye drops will be needed for a few weeks.
- It is safe to read, cook and watch television.
- Avoid heavy physical exertion.
- Do not rub the eye.
- It is safe to have a shower or bath, try not to get water in your eye.
- Do not resume driving unless you are confident to do so.
- Promptly report any pain or sudden deterioration in vision.
Risks of Surgery
Cataract surgery is one of the most successful procedures in modern medicine. More than 99% of patients experience an improvement in their vision.
Even in the best hands complications may still occur. There is about a 1 in 1000 risk of a sudden haemorrhage or infection, which may cause loss of vision in that eye.
What is customised cataract surgery?
Your operation can be adjusted to your requirements! Even if you have a refractive error and have always worn glasses for long or short sightedness it is unlikely that you will need glasses other than for reading. It is also possible to reduce or eliminate pre-existing astigmatism - so you may need glasses less than ever before!
Can I avoid glasses completely?
Yes it is possible to insert a multifocal or accommodating intraocular lens that will enable you to see at distance and near without glasses for all but the most detailed work. There is a slight compromise in contrast but few patients notice this. This and other aspects of customised cataract surgery can be discussed before surgery.
Benefits of Private Cataract Surgery
Vision is precious, put your eyes in the hands of the experts. Private treatment offers a number of advantages:
- A Consultant opinion at every visit.
- A Consultant to perform the operation
- Ample time to discuss the options.
- Appointments arranged to suit you.
- No waiting lists.