Cataract Surgery: What's It Like?
Cataract surgery is necessary when cataracts develop in the patient’s eyes. Cataracts consist of the opacification (i.e. the increase in density of something transparent) of all or part of the crystalline lens. The crystalline lens is one of the lenses in the human eye. Cataracts cause vision to be progressively reduced. Here’s the big catch: the only way to solve it is via surgery.
It’s a pathology that’s often associated with age; however, it can also be congenital or produced by some trauma. In addition, certain diseases or medications can accelerate its progression. They progress gradually, so the person who suffers from it may actually get used to poor levels of vision.
However, cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40. In fact, they’re the leading cause of blindness in the world. In this article, we’ll explain how the cataract operation procedure usually goes.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
As we’ve mentioned, with age the crystalline lens loses transparency. Therefore, cataracts progressively reduce vision quality. The main symptom is the sensation of blurred vision. This makes simple activities such as reading or watching television difficult, and it doesn’t improve with glasses.
Another symptom that usually appears is intolerance to light. The person suffering from cataracts feels that lights are too bright or dazzling. That’s why activities such as driving become complicated; on the contrary, colors are perceived in a less intense way.
Cataracts can also cause double vision or problems seeing at night. If you have any of these symptoms, then it’s best to see an eye doctor. They will carry out the necessary tests and will indicate whether cataract surgery is necessary.
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In the past, cataract surgery was a complicated process that specialists only performed when vision loss was excessive. Today, eye specialists perform it when the first symptoms occur as it’s an outpatient operation. It lasts about 15 to 30 minutes and the people who undergo it only need local anesthesia.
Cataract surgery is a quick and painless process. In fact, it has little risk and specialists can perform it in different ways.
Femtosecond laser operation
First, the laser opens the lens in a circular motion. This is extracted using the femtosecond laser, which allows the use of less energy than that used in traditional surgery. Because of this, recovery is usually easier. Then the specialist implants an intraocular lens which usually solves other vision problems.
The advantages of this procedure are that it produces less eye trauma. This type of cataract operation is more precise and with a quick post-operative period.
Traditional manual cataract operation
Specialists most often opt for the manual cataract operation. They make a micro-incision that they use to fragment the nucleus of the cataract. The fragments detached from it are sucked out and they introduce an intraocular lens made of synthetic material.
The specialist places the lens inside the cataract capsule in the incision. This lens can help correct other defects such as astigmatism or myopia. This operation doesn’t require stitches.
Advantages of cataract surgery
Although any operation can be somewhat scary, in this case it’s a simple procedure. The advantages of cataract surgery are many, since there’s little risk and the benefit is high. It’s not necessary to use general anesthesia nor does it require hospitalization.
Vision recovery is quick after cataract surgery. What’s more, the patient requires few post-operative visits. In fact, in the case of patients with special medication, it’s not even necessary to stop taking it.
The cataract operation allows the correction of other vision defects the person may have. For example, a person suffering from myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism can actually correct these issues. It all depends on the lens that the eye doctor placed intraocularly.
If you suffer from cataracts but are afraid of surgery, don’t worry! Cataract surgery is a simple operation that can greatly improve your vision. The risks are truly minimal. Therefore, if you have any symptoms, you should go to an ophthalmologist. They’ll carry out the relevant tests, explain the procedure to you better and help you make a decision.