Cataract surgery is the process of the removal of the natural lens of the human eye, also termed as the crystalline lens. This process is performed when the one or both the eyes have developed an opacification, commonly known as a cataract. The metabolic changes in the crystalline lens lead to the development of cataract with the passage of time. As a result, the eyes lose their transparency which in turn cause impairment and even complete loss of vision. Most patients experience the first symptoms of cataract as a strong glare from light sources in the morning and small light sources in darkness.
It is also marked by reduced acuity when there is low light. During the surgery, the affected natural lens is taken out and replaced with a high-quality synthetic lens for restoring the transparency of the lens. There are two types of procedures for cataract surgery used all over the world. The first process involves phacoemulsification while the second one is extracapsular cataract extraction. In most of the surgeries, the intraocular lens is inserted. The cataract extraction with the aid of intracapsular cataract extraction is suspended by the Phaco and therefore, it is rarely performed all over the world.
The cataract surgery takes about an hour, and it doesn’t cause much discomfort among patients. During the process, the eye surgeon first numbs the eye with the aid of an anaesthetic. This suggests that you will remain awake during the process. If you are very anxious, the doctor would also give you medicine for relaxing. Then the surgeon would make a small incision in the front part of the eye. Then specialised equipment would be used for breaking the cataract and then, suck it out. The new lens is then inserted which can be made of silicone, acrylic or plastic.
In most cases, the intraocular lens is used after the removal of the natural lens. The implanted lens is then inserted through the incision within the capsular bag present in the posterior chamber. Sometimes, it may be required to opt for sulcus implantation owing to the presence of the posterior capsular tears or zonulolysis. Then the incision is closed, and the doctor would then sew the incision with stitches. The cataract surgery is a simple process, and it is widely performed all over the world to improve the power of vision among patients who have difficulty in viewing.
Cataract surgery can be performed to any individual who is suffering from difficulties to see with both the eyes. In most of these instances, the patients are recommended to consider monovision. This process involves inserting the intraocular lens in one eye providing near vision while the intraocular lens in the other eye offers a distant vision. Some people face tremendous difficulties in seeing objects in the night. It is imperative to perform the surgery in all these cases since the growth of cataract can lead to loss of vision as well.
Even though you may have a cataract, it is not always necessary to undergo the cataract surgery. You may not notice any changes in your vision even though the cataract may have started to develop. Some people with this condition are absolutely fine with their prescription glasses or using magnifying glasses or using bright lights for reading. Also, people with high blood pressure and diabetes are not considered an ideal candidate for the treatment.
Cataract surgery is among the safest surgical interventions in the history of medical science. Also, it can rarely lead to any kind of side effects. A significantly low percentage of patients experience occurrences like bleeding from the eyes, drooping eyelid, build-up of fluid within the eye, swelling, eye infection, detachment of the retina, feeling of pressure under or within the eye and loosening of the implanted lens. If you feel any discomfort following your surgery, it must be reported to the doctor with no further delay. Also, you must ensure following the guidelines of your doctor to ensure that you experience no unwanted side effects.
There is no reason to worry about your eyes feel sore for a few days of completion of the cataract surgery. You may find that there is fluid discharge from your eyes and it has become impossible to see anything in the bright light. Your eye surgeon would prescribe eye drops which would prevent infection, and you must take this for 2 to 3 weeks post operation. You should not drive for at least 2 weeks, pick up heavy objects or do anything that would exert pressure on your eyes. Your doctor may also advise you to sleep in an eye shield for protecting the operated surgery and allow it to heal.
Healing after the cataract surgery generally doesn’t take much time. Just follow the post cataract operation guidelines suggested by your eye surgeon to reduce cataract surgery recovery time. It would take about 2 months for your eyes to heal completely with proper medications and application of the eye drops.
It is necessary to take precautions after the cataract surgery. Wearing eyepatch or eyeglasses protects your eyes from direct light and anti inflammatory eye drops can be used to protect your eyes.
Cataract surgery is one of the most affordable treatment options all over the world. In India, the cost of surgery can range from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 60,000 depending on the methods and equipment used. Your eye surgeon would be able to guide you better about the cost you are likely to incur for the surgery.
In about 90 per cent of the cases, the cataract surgery is successful with no infections and complications. Regardless of whether you choose to undergo manual or laser-assisted surgery, it can improve the vision to a considerable extent. But it is important to have realistic expectations as you may have to wear glasses or lens for excellent vision after the surgery.
The most common alternative to cataract surgery is wearing lens and glasses that can help an affected individual to see most clearly. There are also eye drops available which can assist in dissolving the clumped proteins causing cataracts in the eyes. People who cannot undergo surgery due to health reasons should consider getting the eye drops containing lanosterol as an effective treatment. But it is crucial to consult with an eye surgeon before deciding.