Cataracts are a common eye problem experienced by the elderly. In some cases, babies may also be born with cataract as a congenital defect or it may develop as a result of conditions such as diabetes. Cataracts can affect one or both eyes and is characterized by the clouding of the lens in the eye. This can make it difficult to see clearly and if not treated in time can lead to blindness.
Common symptoms of cataract include:
An eye examination is the first step to diagnosing cataracts. To confirm a diagnosis the doctor will also dilate the pupil to check the lens. Most cataracts can be easily treated with surgery. This surgery involves the separation of the cataract from the lens and its removal after which an intraocular lens implant is placed in the eye. In cases where this cannot be used, corrective contact lenses or glasses will need to be used. One of the most popular methods of cataract surgery is known as phaco surgery or phacoemulsification.
This surgery involves making two, small incisions on the eye where the cornea meets the sclera. This is then used to create a circular opening in the lens through which a probe is inserted into the eye. Sound waves or laser is then used to break the cataract into small pieces. This is then removed from the eyes and an intraocular lens implant is put in its place. Stitches are rarely required for this surgery and it is usually performed as an outpatient procedure while the patient is under local anaesthesia. When treating cataract, both eyes are usually not addressed simultaneously.
This surgery is usually pain free. The operated eye may be bandaged overnight and the patient will be given a protective eye shield to be worn for a week. The doctor will ask you to get a check up 2-3 days after the surgery where they can evaluate the clarity of the lens, overall health of the eye, eye pressure and visual acuity.
Cataract surgery is generally considered to be a safe surgery but like any other surgery there are risks involved. Some of the possible complications of this type of surgery include:
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an ophthalmologist.