Cataract Phaco Surgery Overview
What is a cataract?
A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens in your eye. As the cataract develops, light cannot enter the eye easily and your vision gets blurry.
Early signs may include frequently changing glasses prescription, difficulty in driving at night or glare in the sunshine. Cataracts are a major cause of poor vision in older people.
Why do cataracts occur?
We do not know exactly why cataracts occur. They are more common in:
- Elderly people.
- People from sunny countries where ultra-violet light is stronger
- People who have diabetes
- Patients on certain medicines (such as steroids).
- People who have eye diseases such as uveitis, high myopia or retinitis pigmentosa.
A large number of people over the age of 60 have some problem with their vision because of cataracts.
Can we do something to prevent cataract formation?
- Wear UV protected sun-glasses when out doors. Ultraviolet rays damage lens protein over time, therefore a good quality UV protecting sunglasses will limit the amount of damaging light entering the eye
- Vitamin C intake should be sufficiently high. A research into dietary intake and risk of cataract formation has shown that diet rich in Vitamin C is protective. Fruits and vegetables that contain high vitamin C include orange, kiwi, broccoli and green leafy vegetables. Multivitamin capsules are NOT proven to be helpful.
- Quit smoking. Smoking releases free radicals which are harmful to the human lens.
- Keep diabetes under control.
What is the treatment?
Cataracts can be successfully treated by an operation to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear plastic lens called an implant or IOL. This operation improves your sight. Once the implant is inserted it requires no attention and remains in place for life.
Cataract surgery is one of the commonest performed surgical procedures in the world. The surgery is safe and increases the quality of life in majority of the patients. Research suggest cataract surgery reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in elderly patients. There is also some evidence that patients who get cataract surgery live longer.
What lens options are available in Pakistan?
There are many IOL options available to patients in Pakistan. Patients may choose between Monofocal IOL, Toric IOL, Multifocal IOL or Multifocal Toric IOL. Multifocal lenses are ideal for people who do not wish to wear glasses for distance nor near. Discuss these options with your doctor to find out which IOL best suits your needs.
Phaco Cataract Surgery
In most cases, phaco cataract surgery is performed under topical anesthesia without any injections. Watch Dr. Rehman Sidddiqui perform cataract surgery. (The video has no audio)
After the operation
A nurse will give you details on how to look after your eye.
You will be given eye drops before you go home to use for 8 weeks (print cataract-surgery-drops-schedule). These drops help prevent infection and reduce inflammation.
You should be able to go home 2 – 3 hours after the operation. You must arrange for a friend or relative to collect you and accompany you home. It is common for eyes to be watery and a little blurry for the first 24 hours. The eyes improve gradually over the next few days.
- The first appointment after surgery is between 1-2 days. The main reason is to ensure the patient is comfortable and that there are no immediate postoperative complications (watch the postoperative instruction video).
- The second appointment is for an eye test for glasses 1 week after the operation when the eye has settled. Most restrictions are lifted at 1-week visit.
- The third appointment is usually 5 weeks after the surgery. The doctor will check the eye; adjust the eye drops, if needed; and advise on a change of glasses, if required.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Cataract surgery is generally very safe.
About one in a thousand patients may have an infection or bleeding inside the eye. The risk is low but may require further emergency treatment and rarely results in permanently decreased vision after surgery. Please discuss this with the eye doctor if you are worried.
Your sight is often much better immediately after the lens implant, but sometimes you have to wait until you have new glasses.
We look forward to seeing you, and to you seeing us better!