Cataract surgery is a surgical procedure performed to treat cataracts or vision problems (cloudy, blurry, misty vision). In general, cataracts affect the elderly. However, in some cases, it may also affect children and even newborns.
Symptoms of cataracts are blurry or disturbed vision, difficulty seeing objects or bright light, difficulty distinguishing certain colors, and difficulty seeing in the distance.
Mild stage cataracts do not require surgery. However, if it causes blurry vision or makes it difficult for you to carry out your daily activities, cataract surgery may be required.
How Cataract Surgery Works
Cataract surgery is performed by replacing the lens of your eye with an artificial lens. The affected lens will be destroyed with a special tool, then removed and replaced with an artificial lens.
Cost Estimation for Cataract Surgery
The cost for cataract surgery procedure may vary – depending on the lens chosen and the hospital chosen.
For more details regarding the cost estimation for cataract surgery, contact Smarter Health.
Prior to the procedure, the shape and size of your eyeball will be measured using an eye ultrasound exam to estimate the artificial lens. There are several types of artificial lenses that you may choose, such as:
Monofocal lenses are the most common type of artificial lens used in cataract surgery. With monofocal lenses, your vision is typically in focus at only one distance – near, intermediate, or far. Usually, patients who choose far distance will rely on glasses for activities that require near focus such as reading.
This type of lens cannot correct cylindrical eyes. You will still have to wear glasses if you have cylindrical eyesight problems.
Multifocal lenses enable you to see objects at near, medium and far distances – but still cannot correct cylinder vision. This lens is designed to determine the distance to focus at near, medium, and far. Multifocal lenses are generally more expensive than monofocal lenses due to its advancement.
Compared to monofocal and multifocal lenses, toric lenses are the only lenses that can correct cylinders. However, for certain activities such as reading and writing, you still need to wear glasses for clearer vision.
This type of lens can fit in all situations. This lens can respond to eye muscle movements and shift focus to near or distant objects The focus will be automatically adjusted based on the object. Additionally, this lens also has the ability to move forward and backward – allowing for both near and far distance focus.
During consultation before the procedure, you will have to let your doctor know about any medications you are taking. If you are taking any blood thinning medicines, your doctor may tell you to stop consuming them.
In general, it is recommended for you to fast a day before the cataract surgery. You will also need companions – whether it’s your family or friends to help you throughout the postoperative recovery.
During Cataract Surgery
First, your eye’s pupil will be dilated with a special medication. After the pupil dilates, local anaesthesia will be given to the treated or operated eye. Your doctor may put you under sedation if you do not seem relaxed. Cataract surgery usually lasts for 45 to 60 minutes. You will be fully awake during the procedure with your eyes opened.
Phacoemulsification is a technique for cataract surgery that uses sound waves or ultrasound to destroy the cataract lens. Your doctor will make a small incision in the front of the cornea when the pupil is dilated. This incision is used to insert a special sound wave transmitter in the lens on the eyeball.
Then, the cataract lens will be suctioned out. A new artificial lens will be inserted in its place and the incisions will be closed with sutures if necessary. Phacoemulsification is commonly used for cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery with laser technique is a procedure similar to phacoemulsification, but without surgery. The difference is this technique is that a laser is used to make an incision in the cornea of the eye. Lasers are also used to remove the cataracts.
Extracapsular cataract surgery
This technique is usually to treat cataracts that are dense enough – which makes it difficult to destroy. The intact lens is removed, leaving only the back capsule of the lens – but it is not destroyed like in laser and phacoemulsification techniques. You may need a longer time to recover as this technique makes more incisions.
Intracapsular cataract surgery
In this technique, an incision is made large enough to lift the entire lens. What differs this technique from extracapsular cataract surgery is that the eye lens capsule is also removed and replaced with a new artificial lens.
You do not have to stay in the hospital after cataract surgery. However, you are not allowed to drive. You may notice the significant vision improvement a few days after the procedure.
You may feel discomfort or itching in the operated eye. However, you are advised not to scratch and rub your eyes to avoid unwanted side effects. As a way to relieve discomfort and protect your eyes, your ophthalmologist will place a bandage on your eye in the first few days after the surgery. Regular check-up with your ophthalmologist is also recommended to help you fully recover.
During the recovery period, your doctor will provide eye drops to avoid infection and inflammation. If the eye has completely recovered after surgery or if after 8 days, you still feel the need for glasses to help you see clearly – your doctor may provide you with an eyeglass prescription.
If you experience red eyes during the recovery and the medications do not relieve pain, you should consult your doctor immediately. Talk to your doctor if you continue to have blurry vision or if your eyesight is getting worse.
After cataract surgery, it is still possible for you to have another cataract. In general, it is caused by the calcifications of the lens capsule that were not removed in the previous surgery This condition requires secondary cataract surgery to remove the lens capsule.
Risks of Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is a safe medical procedure when done properly and rarely causes side effects. However, as with any medical procedure, cataract surgery still has some of its own risks:
- Swollen eyes
- Retinal detachment.
- Drooping eyelids.
- Eye bleeding.
- Optic nerve damage
- Secondary cataract
- Endoftalmitis or inflammation of the eye due to infection.
Patients with other eye diseases are more likely to develop complications than those who do not have existing eye diseases. Cataract surgery cannot restore the overall quality of your vision if you have other eye complications.