What are cataracts?
Cataracts refer to opacities that develop in the natural lens of the eye. This tends to occur after the age of 50 years although it can be seen in younger individuals and, rarely, in infants. The lens of the eye functions like the lens in a camera and allows images to be focused on the retina. When the lens opacities form, patients may experience different symptoms depending on the location and pattern of the opacities.
In most cases, blurred vision is the main symptom. Sometimes, the patient may experience blurred vision only in dim light or in bright light. And occasionally, the patient may only experience increasing myopia. Frequent change of glasses in order to see clearly in the distance may be a sign of cataract formation in the older individual.
When is a good time to consider cataract eye surgery?
Cataract removal is needed when the blurred vision caused by the cataract begins to affect normal functioning or when the thickening lens causes shallowing of the front chamber of the eye, predisposing to angle closure glaucoma. Early surgery simply to eliminate the need for reading glasses should only be contemplated after a comprehensive discussion with a cataract specialist as the risks may outweigh the benefits.
Should I consider laser cataract surgery?
Several misperceptions abound regarding cataract operations. The most common one is that surrounding the use of the femtosecond laser in cataract surgery. Many have the impression that when a laser is used, the surgeon does not have to enter the eye with micro-instruments and perform microsurgery. There is confusion in this area as another common procedure, laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK surgery), is widely marketed as being laser-assisted and does not require entry into the eye.
To clarify the difference between the 2 types of cataract surgeries, femtosecond laser cataract surgery and non-femtosecond laser cataract surgery differ in whether the femtosecond laser is used in assisting the surgeon in three or fewer steps of the surgery. In non-femtosecond laser cataract surgery, the surgeon uses precision ophthalmic instruments to achieve the same steps. The rest of the surgery is similar. Specifically, ultrasound energy is still employed in the effective removal of the lens. Both approaches have their own sets of benefits and risks. The choice between the two can be made after a good discussion with your eye doctor.
Cataract Surgery Aftercare
The good news about cataract surgery is that the vast majority do well and patients can usually see the improvement as early as the next day. Whether one needs to wear glasses after cataract surgery will depend on whether one has chosen a mono-focal or multifocal lens implant. There are many models available and a good discussion with your eye doctor is crucial in deciding which is the better option for you or your loved one. It is good to understand that not all individuals are suited for multifocal lens implants. Contact us to find out the cataract surgery cost.