What is a cataract?
A cataract is an opacification of the lens, which can impair visual acuity to varying degrees. There are a number of factors that can lead to the development of various forms of cataract.
What are the first symptoms of a cataract?
The main cataract symptom is gradual deterioration of vision. Patients complain about blurred, as if „foggy” or „frosty”, vision and tend to wipe out glasses as if glasses were dirty.
Another sign of the onset of a cataract may be the necessity to frequently change glasses or problems with finding a suitable correction. As cataract progresses, a loss of visual acuity is noted, and in extreme cases when the lens becomes totally opaque the eye becomes blind.
What does cataract treatment involve?
The only effective method of cataract treatment is its surgical removal. When to operate on a patient is decided jointly by the patient and ophthalmologist. There is no necessity to wait until the cataract matures. The decision needs to be taken when the lens’ opacity becomes an impediment to one’s lifestyle, work and everyday operations.
In our „Centre de la Vision” NZOZ the surgical removal of a cataract is conducted using phacoemulsification. Phacoemulsification is the most up-to-date method of cataract surgery. It involves breaking up the lens using sound waves, and then removing the lens’s mass, leaving the lenticular capsule intact. A plastic lens is then inserted into the empty lenticular capsule. Lenses are individually tailored to allow the patient to see clearly over a distance and use glasses for reading. The whole surgery is performed by a tiny eye incision (<3 mm) hence no sutures are necessary.
In the majority of cases it is possible to conduct the procedure in outpatient conditions. The patient arriving from home is allowed to return home after a few hours’ surgery. Follow-up is compulsory one day after the procedure and then depending on doctor’s indications. The patient undergoing such surgery may walk and perform basic lifetime activities independently. Between ten and twenty days after the operation, the patient may return to its previous lifestyle.
Postoperative advice following cataract surgery and implantation of artificial intraocular lens.
- The operative wound is healing, which will take c. 1–2 months. During the healing period, you may experience a „foreign body”, sensation underneath the lid. The feeling will slowly retreat.
- Keep your lifestyle healthy and energy-limiting (as in hospital). During the postoperative period, refrain from certain activities, physical exercise in particular.
- If vision gets worse or pain occurs, immediately contact the centre.
- Do not practise sport in the postoperative period.
- Do not press or rub the operated eye.
- Follow instructions for the application of drops. If the drops run out earlier than the set follow-up visit, contact an ophthalmologist to receive a new prescription.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before applying the drops.
- How to apply the drops
– pull the lower eyelid down and roll your eyes toward the top of your head: administer one drop without touching the lid, eyelashes or any other objects with the dispenser; close the eye for c. one minute; do not use eye drops if they have been opened for > 2 months. Do not use drops after the expiry date.