29 Jul Exploring Cataract Surgery: Purpose, Procedure, and Benefits
Cataract surgery is a common and effective procedure designed to alleviate the vision impairment caused by cataracts (cloudy lens).This outpatient surgery involves the skilled removal of the cloudy lens and replacement with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL), which helps restore clear vision. The surgery is quick to complete and uses modern techniques like phacoemulsification, where an ultrasound device gently breaks up the cataract, allowing for easier removal.
With a high success rate and minimal recovery time, cataract surgery offers renewed clarity and improved quality of life to those suffering from this common age-related condition. The surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis and takes only about 15 to 30 minutes for the whole procedure. The Binetter Eye Centre is a specialist eye health provider specialising in Cataract surgery. Our modern laser eye surgery is a patient-focused centre of excellence with the sole aim of achieving the best possible results using the safest and most reliable techniques.
A General Overview of how Cataract Surgery Works:
This is what you should expect on the day of your cataract surgery.
Before the surgery, the eye surgeon will administer local anaesthetic to numb the eye. In some cases, general anaesthesia may be used if the patient prefers or if there are specific medical reasons.
A small incision is made on the surface of the eye. This incision can be either a traditional, larger incision or a smaller, more modern, and self-sealing incision called a “micro-incision” or “small-incision” cataract surgery.
Once the incision is made, the surgeon creates an opening in the front part of the thin, transparent membrane surrounding the lens called the lens capsule. This circular opening is known as a “capsulorhexis.”
In phacoemulsification, the most common technique used for cataract surgery, an ultrasound device is inserted into the eye through the small incision. The device emits ultrasound waves that break up the cloudy cataract into tiny fragments, which are then gently suctioned out of the eye.
After the cataract is removed, an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted in place of the natural lens. The IOL is a clear, permanent lens that remains in the eye and helps focus light onto the retina.
If the incision was made using a micro-incision technique, it may not require sutures as it is self-sealing. If a larger incision was used, the surgeon will use tiny sutures to close the wound.
After the surgery, the patient is monitored for a short period and then allowed to go home. Full recovery usually takes a few days to a few weeks. The patient will need to follow the surgeon’s post-operative instructions, including the use of prescribed eye drops and avoiding certain activities that could strain the eyes.
Who Should Consider Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is recommended for individuals who experience significant vision impairment and a reduced quality of life due to cataracts. Cataracts are a common age-related condition where the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy, leading to blurred and hazy vision. When cataracts start interfering with daily activities, such as reading, driving, or recognising faces, and when vision cannot be adequately corrected with glasses or contact lenses, cataract surgery becomes a viable option.
Here are some indicators that suggest an individual may benefit from cataract surgery:
Vision Impairment: If cataracts cause enough vision loss to affect daily activities, such as reading, driving, watching TV, or performing routine tasks, cataract surgery may be necessary.
Glare and Halos: Cataracts can cause increased sensitivity to light, leading to glare and halos around lights, especially at night. If these symptoms are bothersome and affect night vision, cataract surgery may be considered.
Impaired Colour Vision: Cataracts can dull colours and reduce the vibrancy of the world. If an individual experiences significant colour vision impairment, cataract surgery may help restore colour perception.
Difficulty with Daily Activities: When cataracts hinder a person’s ability to work, cook, engage in hobbies, or take care of themselves, cataract surgery can significantly improve their independence and quality of life.
Cataract-Induced Myopia (Nearsightedness): In some cases, cataracts can cause temporary nearsightedness. If this affects an individual’s vision, cataract surgery may help correct it.
It’s important to note that cataract surgery is not strictly based on the severity of cataracts alone. The decision to undergo surgery should be made collaboratively between the patient and their eye care professional. The eye doctor will consider the overall health of the eyes, the impact of cataracts on the patient’s lifestyle, and any other relevant medical conditions before recommending surgery.
While cataract surgery is generally considered safe and has a high success rate, it is still a surgical procedure and carries some risks. It is crucial for individuals to have a thorough evaluation and discussion with their surgeon to determine if cataract surgery is the best option for them.
What Is The Difference Between Cataract Surgery And Custom Lasik Surgery?
Cataract surgery and custom LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) surgery are both eye procedures, but they address different vision issues and involve distinct techniques. Here are the key differences between the two:
- Cataract Surgery: Cataract surgery is performed to remove a cloudy lens (cataract) from the eye and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Cataracts cause blurred vision and can lead to significant visual impairment.
- Custom LASIK Surgery: LASIK is a refractive surgery performed to correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. It reshapes the cornea, the front surface of the eye, to improve how light enters the eye and focuses on the retina.
- Cataract Surgery: Cataract surgery is specifically for patients with cataracts, which cause clouding of the eye’s natural lens, leading to blurry and hazy vision.
- Custom LASIK Surgery: LASIK surgery is designed to correct refractive errors that affect how light is focused by the eye, resulting in blurry vision when looking at distant or close objects.
- Cataract Surgery: In cataract surgery, the eye’s natural cloudy lens (cataract) is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
- Custom LASIK Surgery: LASIK surgery does not involve the removal or replacement of the eye’s lens. Instead, it reshapes the cornea to adjust how light is refracted onto the retina.
- Cataract Surgery: Cataract surgery typically uses techniques like phacoemulsification to break up and remove the cataract, followed by the insertion of an IOL.
- Custom LASIK Surgery: LASIK surgery involves the use of a laser to create a thin flap in the cornea, lifting it to expose the underlying tissue. The laser then reshapes the corneal tissue, and the flap is repositioned, allowing the eye to heal naturally.
- Cataract Surgery: Cataract surgery is primarily recommended for patients with significant cataract-related vision impairment.
- Custom LASIK Surgery: LASIK surgery is suitable for individuals with stable refractive errors within certain limits and without any contraindications.
It is important to note that cataract surgery is typically covered by health insurance because it is considered medically necessary, whereas LASIK surgery is generally an elective procedure and is not typically covered by insurance.
Ultimately, the choice between cataract surgery and LASIK surgery depends on the specific vision issues a person has and their eligibility for each procedure. It is essential to consult with an eye care professional to determine the most suitable treatment option for individual needs.
What is The Recovery Like For Cataract Surgery?
Most patients report feeling only mild pressure during the procedure, but they should not experience any pain. In some cases, patients may be given a mild sedative to help them relax during the surgery. The recovery from cataract surgery is usually relatively quick and straightforward for most patients. Here’s an overview of what to expect during the recovery period:
Post-operative Care: After the surgery, patients are usually allowed to go home the same day. It’s important to have someone accompany the patient to drive them home, as their vision may be temporarily blurry due to the effects of the surgery.
Eye Protection: The surgeon will typically place a protective shield or eye patch over the treated eye to prevent accidental rubbing or touching during the initial healing phase.
Rest and Healing: Most patients can resume normal activities, with some restrictions, shortly after surgery. However, it’s essential to avoid activities that could strain the eyes, such as heavy lifting or vigorous exercise, during the first few weeks of recovery.
Use of Eye Drops: Patients will be prescribed a series of eye drops to help prevent infection and promote healing. It’s essential to follow the eye doctor’s instructions for using these drops as directed.
Visual Improvement: Many patients experience improved vision within the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery. However, it’s common to have fluctuations in vision and some blurriness during the initial recovery period.
Follow-up Visits: Regular follow-up visits with the eye doctor are crucial to monitor the healing process and ensure that the eye is recovering well.
Both Eyes: If cataracts are present in both eyes and require surgery, the surgeries are typically scheduled a few weeks apart to allow one eye to heal before operating on the other.
Full Recovery: While most patients can resume normal activities relatively quickly, it may take a few weeks for the eye to fully heal and stabilise. During this time, vision may continue to improve.
Overall, cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure with a high success rate. However, as with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications. It’s essential to follow the eye doctor’s post-operative instructions carefully and report any unusual symptoms or concerns promptly. If there are any unexpected or concerning issues during the recovery period, patients should contact their eye doctor immediately for evaluation and guidance. For more information, get in touch with our team today!
A unique mix of expertise, experience and international reputation, Dr Ron Binetter is the figure behind the Binetter Eye Centre. With more than two decades of hands-on experience in eye surgery, Dr Binetter is a specialist in cataract, lens implantation and laser eye surgery. Learn more about Dr Ron Binetter’s background and qualifications.