Cataract surgery

Cataract surgery is the most common and probably also one of the most successful and safest eye surgeries. The first sign of this disease is unclear or blurred vision. The only effective known treatment for cataracts is surgery during which the blurred natural eye lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one.

Causes for blurred vision

Blurred vision in cataracts, which is one of the most common eye diseases in adulthood and in the elderly, is a consequence of disturbances in the ocular lens. The ocular lens lays directly behind the iris. Its main function is to bend rays of light that pass into the eye and to project them on a precisely defined spot of the eye fundus, called the macula. Cataract formation in younger people is frequently associated with some types of diseases, such as diabetes and chronic eye inflammation. Cataracts can also develop after an eye injury.

Choosing the correct lenses and surgery

This surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure. Prior to surgery, the anterior part of the eye is paralyzed with eye drops and the pupil is dilated. During surgery, we insert an ultrasound machine through a thin several millimetre wide incision in the cornea and use it to shatter, liquefy and absorb the degenerative altered eye lens. In its place, we insert an appropriate artificial lens. Modern eye lenses are inserted into the eye using an injector through an incision that is only three millimetres wide. The lens is inserted as a rolled up tube and then opened and correctly placed inside the eye. Standard intraocular lenses used in cataract surgery are monofocal. These lenses ensure sharp distance vision. After surgery, a patient's vision is similar to the vision of other people his or her age who are not afflicted by cataracts. The patient requires reading glasses after surgery. Over the past decade, the use of multifocal lenses has spread. These have complex optics that provide the patient with good near and far visual acuity. If the patient decides in favour of a multifocal lens, he or she will not require reading glasses after surgery.

Recovery after surgery

Cataract surgery is performed under local anaesthesia and takes 15 to 30 minutes. After surgery, the patient must infuse drops that contain antibiotics and corticosteroids into the eye, as prescribed. The first follow-up examination is performed one day after the surgery. Following this, the patient is usually checked again after one or two weeks.

Major risk for disease formation

Factors that increase the development of cataracts are associated with genes, gender (cataracts is slightly more common in women due to hormonal changes during menopause), smoking and exposure to UV-rays. Near-sighted and brown eyed individuals are also at somewhat higher risk of developing cataracts. The most appropriate time for cataract surgery depends primarily on the patient's subjective problems and his or her needs. The belief that cataracts must mature before surgery can be performed is very widespread, but incorrect. Active patients whose activities become limited by the onset of cataracts can decide in favour of surgery in early stages of cataract development.

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