Cataract – what you need to know about it
Cataract is an eye disease that impairs the quality of vision. If left untreated, it can even lead to complete vision loss. Cataracts involve the clouding of the natural lens, which is located inside the eyeball behind the pupil. A healthy lens is clear as crystal; cataracts occur when the lens becomes progressively cloudy and transmits less and less light, which does not reach the back of the eye. Patients begin to complain about the quality of vision, constant cleaning of corrective glasses does not bring any improvement. Over time, they notice that the quality of vision is much worse on a sunny day than when the sun is behind clouds. Eventually, the eyesight deteriorates so much that it becomes increasingly difficult to perform daily activities. The image in front of the eyes fades, is blurred, colors seem to be darker.
During the preoperative assessment, after performing a series of diagnostic tests, our research and diagnostic coordinator together with the attending physician recommend the type of lens that should be implanted during the surgery.
The preoperative assessment lasts one hour, pros and cons of different types of lens are discussed and the final decision is made. The lens must fit the eye like a well-tailored suit, and this is what all the calculations and discussions are for.
At the Retina we use only best quality lenses and we offer different types: monofocal, premium monofocal and toric, multifocal and multifocal toric. Not every type lens, however, will be suitable for your eye.
Am I really going to develop a cataract? – Does it affect everyone?
Tak, jeśli pożyjecie dostatecznie długo. Zaćma, czyli zmętnienie soczewki, było kiedyś przyczyną ślepoty u większości starszych ludzi. A teraz? W Przychodni i Szpitalu Okulistycznym Retina radzimy sobie z nią w piętnaście minut!
Cataract onset is a natural symptom
Zaćmie nie można zapobiec prowadząc zdrowy tryb życia, stosując dietę czy krople do oczu. Katarakta jest równie naturalnym objawem starzenia jak zmarszczki czy siwizna. Ponieważ zaćma w 90 procentach przypadków jest wynikiem starzenia się organizmu, więc przeciętnie pojawia się w wieku sześćdziesięciu lat. Dlaczego niektórzy mają zaćmę wcześniej niż inni? Cóż, różne części ciała starzeją się w różnym czasie. Katarakta prawie u każdego przebiega inaczej – niekiedy rozwija się przez kilka miesięcy, a czasem przez długie lata. Skutek jest jednak zawsze ten sam: pogorszenie widzenia w oku, w którym wystąpiła. Zaćma może też jednocześnie pojawić się w obu soczewkach.
What should I do if I find out I have a cataract?
Cataract is a progressive clouding of the lens, so the problem can be solved by removing your natural lens and replacing it with an artificial one. It the past there was a prevailing perception that, in order to qualify for a surgery, the cataract had to be mature, i.e. the lens had to become completely cloudy. These days the surgery is done at any stage of cataract development, when the ailment begins to interfere with normal functioning – the earlier, the better.
The surgery is a simple and effective procedure, and rarely causes complications.
Surgery? There is nothing to be afraid of.
Cataract surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis under local or combined anesthesia. At the Retina Ophthalmological Outpatient Clinic and Hospital cataract surgery takes about a quarter of an hour. Once the patient has rested after the surgery, they are discharged, but must be accompanied home by an escort.
If the cataract is present in both eyes, you won’t have the procedure done on both eyes at the same time. The other eye will be operated on after several days of the first surgery. The patient begins to see as before the cataract occurred, or even better. After the surgery the quality of vision improves, and it can be even better than before the development of the cataract.
Recommendations before cataract
- on the day of the surgery, you should report to the Clinic wearing comfortable clothes (e,g. a tracksuit); you will be given a disposable patient bodysuit
- on the day of the surgery do not put on facial or eye makeup,
- prescribed chronic-use medications should be taken at the usual time, except the ones listed below,
- 3-7 days before the surgery patients should discontinue blood thinners, such as: Acard, Aspiryna, Aspro C, Asprocol, Polopiryna, Rhonal, Ring N, Solucytel, Thomapyrin.
Prior to the scheduled surgery you will be provided with additional detailed information.
What to expect during the cataract surgery
On the day of cataract surgery, the ophthalmological surgeon will apply local anesthesia to the eye. The patient will remain fully conscious throughout the procedure and will not feel any pain, only the touch.
During the procedure, the surgeon makes a two-millimeter incision and, using a special device called a phacoemulsifier, splits the cloudy lens into smaller fragments to remove it piece by piece from the eye (a phacoemulsifier can be compared to a vacuum cleaner, which simultaneously shreds and sucks out pieces of the lens). The procedure is designed to remove the contents, i.e. the cloudy lens, and leave its packaging – the so-called capsular bag. A rolled up artificial lens is slipped into the empty bag and stretched inside. Now the old package contains a new contents. It’s all over now! The new lens contains a yellow filter that protects the retina from harmful UV rays.
Important after a cataract surgery
- The next day after the procedure the doctor removes the dressing. The patient can move normally, turn his head, bend down without fear of the lens falling out.
- After the procedure the patient should not use public transport, and should be escorted home by an adult companion.
- For 24 hours after anesthesia the patient cannot drive, operate dangerous equipment or drink alcohol.
- After the surgery the face should not be immersed in water and the eye should be kept dry, as this can lead to infection. For 3 weeks caution should be exercised when bathing, until the wound becomes watertight.
- For 2-3 weeks after the surgery patients should abstain from doing work that requires a lot of physical effort (e,g., moving heavy furniture or lifting over 15 kilograms).
- On sunny days patients should wear sunglasses.
- The first follow-up visit should be scheduled three weeks after the surgery, and then after eight to twelve weeks, when it will be possible to fit corrective eyeglasses, should they be needed.
Why we recommend to have your cataract removed at the Retina Ophthalmological Outpatient Clinic and Hospital
During the cataract surgery at our Center, we implant the highest quality lenses, the properties of which are tailored to the specific characteristics of each eye:
- special lenses that facilitate laser therapy in patients with retinal peripheral degeneration and diabetes,
- special lenses with additional UV filters for patients with age-related macular degeneration and retinal and choroidal nevi,
- the patient can choose whether they prefer not to wear glasses, and use only reading glasses when needed, or the other way round – wear glasses, but take them off for reading,
- if the patient prefers not to use glasses at all, we implant multifocal lenses