Cataract & Lens Surgery
What is Cataract:
“A large waterfall” -late Middle English: from Latin cataracta 'waterfall, floodgate', also 'portcullis' (medical sense 2 probably being a figurative use of this), from Greek kataraktēs 'down-rushing', from katarassein, from kata-'down' + arassein 'strike, smash."
Akin to a camera, the eye has a lens system that helps focus an image of what you see on to the retina. The natural lens in the eye is like an auto focus lens. It changes shape and thereby changes focus very quickly from long distance to close up or vice versa in a fraction of a second. It is so seamless and almost instantaneous that you hardly notice the transition.
However with aging this flexibility of the lens decreases and the lens becomes stiffer. Eventually in most people sometime between the ages of 40 and 50 it can no longer focus for close up objects so that objects have to be held at a longer distance to be able to see clearly. This change is known as Presbyopia and can be corrected by wearing reading glasses.
The lens in a young person is also extremely clear but as one grows older at some stage it starts becoming cloudy. When this happens it is called a cataract. The cloudy lens disturbs and reduces vision.
What are the effects of Cataract:
The main symptom is gradual reduction or change in vision. This affects people in different ways and is described by people in different ways. As the process is usually gradual some people do not notice any symptoms until pointed out by their optician. Depending on the life style some may start having problems in very early stages.
- Dimness, Haze, Cloudiness, Double vision, Glare.
- Difficulty in reading sign boards, seeing TV or night time driving.
- Better near vision without reading glasses or significant change in spectacle prescription.
- Cataract normally does not cause headaches, discomfort, watering etc.
Why does one get Cataract:
The most common cause is aging process but other causes such as injury, birth abnormality and some other systemic conditions or medications can also cause cataract.
What is the treatment of Cataract:
Cataract surgery is the commonest surgical operation performed in the UK. It is a very safe and effective operation.
Modern surgical technology makes it possible to carry out the procedure through a very small incision – Micro Incision Cataract Surgery (MICS).
About the artificial lens:
The artificial lenses are made of highly specialised plastic material. They should last through the life time of the individual and do not need to be replaced. Biometry (measurements of the eye) is carried out beforehand to calculate the power of the lens required for each individual eye. Any pre-existing short or long sighted ness can be taken into account and corrected partially or completely by choosing an appropriate lens implant.
Lens Exchange and Premium lens implants:
A standard lens implant is single focus (Mono focal) i.e. it can correct distance vision or near vision only , but will not correct both. This necessitates use of spectacle’s for reading or working on the computer etc.
Specialised lens implants can correct both near and distance or even intermediate vision, thus reducing or eliminating the need for spectacles. These lenses are also used as a lens exchange procedure for correction of presbyopia. Click here for a video. Specialised lens implants can also be used to correct Astigmatism.