It involves removing the opaque lens from the eye and replacing it with an artificial one.
CATARACT? NOT A PROBLEM FOR US!
Will cataract really happen to everyone? Yes, if you live long enough. Cataract, i.e. opacification of the lens, used to be the cause of blindness in the majority of elderly people. And now? Well, in the Retina Ophthalmological Clinic we deal with it in 15 minutes!
Initially your vision starts deteriorating and constant cleaning of glasses doesn’t help. Then on a sunny day you get an impression as if lightning strikes in front of your eyes. You see much better when the sun disappears behind clouds. Finally your eyesight deteriorates so much it’s difficult to do your daily tasks. What’s going on? Probably you suffer from cataract.
Cataract can’t be prevented with healthy lifestyle, a special diet or some eye drops. It’s a natural symptom of getting older, such as wrinkles or grey hair. A course of the disease varies from patient to patient – sometimes it develops within several months, sometimes it takes years. The result is always the same: the deterioration of vision in the affected eye. It can appear simultaneously in both lens. In 90% of cases cataract is a result of the aging of a body so it rarely starts before the age of 60 (and most commonly around the age of 80). Why do some people get cataract earlier than others? Different parts of a body age with a different speed.
WHAT TO DO WITH THIS?
Cataract is a progressive opacification of the lens. It can be treated by replacing the natural lens with an artificial one. It used to be believed that the opacification needs to be full in order for a surgery to be performed. Now procedures are done in all stages of cataract – the earlier the better, when the problem becomes disruptive in everyday life. This procedure is simple, effective and rarely results in complications.
DON’T BE SCARED
The cataract surgery can be provided to outpatients with a local anesthesia. In our clinic it takes about a quarter of an hour. After a short rest the patient can go back home accompanied by someone. If cataract has affected both eyes, initially one eye is treated. The second one is operated several days later. The patient will see as well as before cataract and sometimes even better. How is it possible? It’s because the recent hit is a pseudo-accommodative lens replacing the natural cloudy one. When such lenses are implanted glasses become redundant as the patient sees from a short and a long distance equally well. We need to mention, however, that pseudo-accommodative lenses don’t provide good vision in between – for example while working on a computer.
HOW DOES THE CATARACT SURGERY LOOKS LIKE?
- Before the cataract removal procedure an ophthalmic surgeon locally anaesthetizes the eye. The patient is fully conscious during the procedure.
- The surgeon makes a 2 mm incision in the cornea and divides the cloudy lens into smaller parts to remove them from the eye, using a procedure called phacoemulsification (the device used in this procedure can be compared to a vacuum cleaner which simultaneously grinds down and sucks out parts of the lens). The aim of this treatment is to remove the content, i.e. the cloudy lens, while retaining its packaging – the capsule.
- A new synthetic rolled up lens is being implanted in the empty capsule and uncurled inside. Now a new content is placed in the old packaging.
- All done! The new lens is equipped with a yellow filter which protects the retina from the harmful influence of UV rays./li>
The next day after the procedure a doctor removes the dressing. The patient can move normally, shake his or her head or bend down without a fear that the lens would fall out. But just in case for 2-3 weeks he or she should avoid a significant physical effort. After the treatment the eye can’t be touched or get wet to prevent infection.
Next appointments are arranged in 3 and 6 weeks’ time – during the second one glasses may be fitted, if necessary.
HOW DO CATARACT TREATMENTS DONE IN OUR CLINIC DIFFER FROM THOSE DONE ELSEWHERE?
In our Clinic we implant lenses of the highest quality at no additional cost. They are customized to the needs of a particular eye:
- Special lenses facilitating laser therapy for patients with lattice degeneration and diabetes.
- Special lenses with additional UV filters in cases of age-related macular degeneration and retinal or choroidal nevi.
The procedure lasts approximately a quarter of an hour.
Attention! The cataract removal procedure is not the only eye surgery we do in the Retina Ophthalmological Clinic. We also perform retinal surgeries, we treat surgically AMD, i.e. age-related macular deterioration, we provide anti-glaucoma treatments and even plastic surgery procedures on eyelids and skin changes in the eye area.
Do you know that:
- Cataract surgeries are the most common ophthalmic procedures performed around the world.
- Cataract is the most common cause of blindness! 20 million people are blind due to cataract, which is a half of all blind people in the world. These are people who did not subject themselves to a cataract removal surgery.
- The first cataract removal surgery was performed around 3000 years ago in India by a nomadic doctor Susruta. He used a knife topped with a little ball. He pushed a cloudy lens inside. It stayed on the retina for the rest of the patient’s life. Most people had an improved vision for a couple of days but then their eyes were getting infected and they were losing sight altogether.
- It wasn’t until the 18th century, when a French physician, Jacques Daviel, performed the first successful cataract surgery. He developed his technique after a request from a young painter who lost his sight due to cataract. The technique involved cutting through the cornea, cutting off ciliary zonules that held the lens and removing the lens altogether. Daviel performed over 400 procedures – only 50 of them were unsuccessful. After the surgery his patients wore thick glasses which replaced the removed lens.
- The first artificial lens was implanted in 1952. We owe the discovery of a material suitable for manufacturing artificial lenses to an English physician, Harold Ridley. He observed a lack of inflammatory reactions in an eye of a pilot who ended up with chips of acrylic glass in his eyeball after the Battle of Britain.