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What is Cataract?

Cataract is a opacity in the lens of the eye.The normal lens is transparent and allows light to reach the retina. When it becomes opaque (cataract) light does not reach the retina and the patient is unable to see clearly.

Why does Cataract form?

Cataract is the most common cause of blindness in our country. The causes of formation of cataract are not fully known.

  • It is an aging problem

  • Ultravioet light exposure

  • Deficiency of protein and vitamins

Apart from cataract in old age (senile cataract) cataract can also occur in children (congenital cataract) or adolescents (Developmental cataract). Injuries can produce cataracts in all age groups. Patients with Diabetes mellitus develop cataract earlier than a normal person.

What are the symptoms?

  • Blurring of image in bright light

  • Double images

  • Image distortion

  • Unequal vision in eyes

What are the treatment option for Cataract

There is no drug which has been proven to cure cataract, as yet. The only treatment available is surgery i.e removal of cataract.

When does cataract require removal ?

Apart from the mature cataracts, even immature cataracts need to be removed if it hampers with the patient’s visual requirements. There is no necessity to wait for the cataract to ripen as in earlier times.

Currently cataract is removed through a small incision by an ultrasonic aspiration technique called Phacoemulsification. Almost all the patients are implanted with intraocular lenses.

What is Phacoemulsification or small incision cataract surgery ?

Small incision cataract surgery is increasingly gaining in popularity as compared to a large incision of 13 mm used previously to remove cataract. The incision size is 2.5mm. There is no suture required because of the tunnel incision, which is self-sealing

The intra ocular lenses (IOL) implanted may be the Foldable or Non-foldable type. The Foldable lens is definitely a better option, because it retains the incision size to 2.5-mm. whereas a Non foldable lens requires extension of the incision to 5.5 mm and hence may require a suture.

The advantage of small incision cataract surgery using phacoemulsification is the visual recovery and rehabilitation is fast which enables the patient to resume normal activities within a few days and even attend to routine office work.

This type of surgery is more expensive than traditional surgery. The advantages here are that it does not require anaesthesia and the recovery is faster.

Some Post operative Concerns

Will I need Glasses after surgery ?

Very often not. You may need to wear glasses only to fine-tune your vision. These are normal glasses and not those “thick” spectacles as in the past.

Phaco and small incision cataract surgery is probably a great leap forward in the field of ophthalmic surgery.

Mild Blurring of Vision

In about 25% of the patient who undergo cataract surgery, thickening of the posterior capsule of the original lens occurs causing mild blurring of vision. This can occur anytime between three months to five years after surgery. the treatment for this is very simple. Simple painless laser procedures can make a small opening in the thickened capsule behind the implanted lens.

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