Cataract – Your frequently asked questions answered
What is a cataract?
There is a lens inside the eye which is clear and focusses light onto the back of the eye. A cloudy lens is a cataract.
What causes cataract?
The most common cause of cataract is aging of the eye. Less common causes include birth defect, diseases like diabetes, trauma and steroid usage.
What are the symptoms of cataract?
The most common symptom of cataract is blurring of vison. Other symptoms include altered colour perception or a frequent change of glasses.
What is the treatment for cataract?
In the early stage a change of glasses may help. Once the vision gets blurred surgical treatment may be the best option.
What does the surgery involve?
The operation is done as a day case. The eye is numbed with either drops or a tiny injection beside the eye. A tiny cut is made in the eye and an ultrasound probe is inserted into the eye. The cloudy lens is broken up into fragments and removed from the eye. A new clear lens is inserted into the eye.
What are the risks of cataract surgery?
Modern cataract surgery which is done as a keyhole procedure is extremely safe and serious complications are rare.
What lenses are used for cataract surgery?
The most common lens used is a mono focal lens. This provides excellent image quality but has extremely limited focussing range. Therefore people who have mono focal lenses after cataract surgery end up wearing glasses for close work and/or distance vision.
Are newer lenses available?
Newer lenses, also called premium lenses or multi focal lenses, are now available, They significantly reduce the need for spectacles. However, a few patients can experience side effects such as seeing glare and halos around lights or a difficulty in focussing on artificial light soon after surgery. In most cases this improves with time.
What are the restrictions after surgery?
There are not really many restrictions after surgery. Patients may notice a mild discomfort for a day or two after the cataract surgery. They are able to resume most normal activities within a few days of surgery. Patients are prescribed drops for about a month and if replacement glasses are needed these are usually prescribed by their own optometrist, about a month after surgery.