What is a Cataract?
- A cataract forms when the clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy.
- Cataracts usually form slowly over time and initially cause few symptoms. As the cataract progresses symptoms may include.
- Improved near vision ‘second sight’
- Halos around lights
- Reduced night vision
- Blurring or clouding of vision
- Cataracts mostly affect those over 50.
- 50% of those over 60 have some cataract
- 90% of those over 70 have some cataract
- Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure in Australia. The majority of patients can expect complete restoration of their vision.
- Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will diagnose cataracts after a thorough eye examination.
- After the age of 50 you should get your eyes regular checked by your optometrist.
- If you notice a decrease in vision you should see your optometrist or GP immediately to obtain a referral to an ophthalmologist.
- The only proven treatment for cataracts is surgery. Glasses may temporarily delay the need for surgery, but the cataract will continue to grow.
- Not all cataracts require surgery. Our surgeons will advise you of the risks and benefits of surgery. If the benefit of cataract surgery is outweighed by the risk then it may be better to delay surgery.
- Surgery should often be delayed if:
- Vision is still excellent
- There is no or very limited vision in the other eye
- There is untreated diabetes in the eye
- The chance of a good result is low due to other disease of the eye, most commonly macular degeneration or nerve disease.
- Early cataract surgery should be undertaken if:
- Vision is impacting on quality of life or ability to work
- In patients with glaucoma
- Our surgeons perform cataract surgery as a day procedure at Sunbury Day Hospital
- Patients with private insurance that includes cover for cataract surgery will be offered No-Gap surgery.
- Uninsured patients can be also treated privately for a fee that our staff can discuss further with you
- Our surgeons perform cataract surgery using a small incision sutureless technique. The cataract is removed by phacoemulsification using a modern chopping technique that minimizes damage to the delicate internal structures of the eye. We will use the most modern artificial lenses to give you the best possible vision following your surgery.
What to expect after surgery
- It is normal to experience some discomfort on the first evening after surgery and our surgeons recommend patients take paracetamol prior to going to bed.
- Many patients will experience excellent vision on the first morning after surgery
- About 10% of patients will develop some scar tissue over the artificial lens (secondary cataract); this can reduce vision and may require treatment with a laser in the rooms.
- About 5% of patients will experience swelling at the back of the eye. This normally causes vision to deteriorate between 1- 2 weeks after surgery and is often described as a thumbprint in the centre of the vision. This swelling may require ongoing treatment but in more than 95% of cases eventually resolves.
Anywhere between a few months to 4-5 years after cataract surgery about 10% of patients each year experience blurred vision or have difficulty with glare and loss of visual clarity compared to what they experienced immediately after surgery. (This will increase by 10% each year after surgery and by 5 years it will be 50% chance). This is the result frosting or thickening developing behind where the intraocular lens was inserted during the cataract surgery. This condition is known as Posterior Capsule Opacity