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Cataracts is the clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. It is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness worldwide. There are health factors that aid cataract development, but changes in the eye’s lens as people age is the main cause of cataract development. Other risk factors like obesity, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, ultraviolet radiation, long term or excessive use of steroidal medications, eye injuries, hereditary, birth defects and so on, hasten the degenerative process.

Many cataracts can be lived with and managed at the initial stages, but will need to be removed eventually with simple surgical operations. The more common methods currently available are:

 

PHACOEMULSIFICATION:

Phacoemulsification, or phaco, or laser cataract surgery as it is popularly called in our environment, is used to restore vision in patients whose vision has become cloudy from cataracts. It involves the use of a tiny instrument which is inserted through a very small incision. The instrument uses ultrasound vibrations to break the cataract into fine pieces; these are then gently suctioned out. The new lens is then inserted into the eye. Usually, no stitches are required to close the incision. This minimal surgery allows faster and safer healing, hastening the return of normal activity.

Phacoemulsification has fast become established as the gold standard for cataract surgery for the following reasons:

  • The implantation of the IOL in the eye compensates for the earlier refractive error which makes vision much better than it was before surgery.
  • Small incisions which usually do not require stitches or sutures.
  • It is safe and accurate
  • Quick recovery time, 4-7days on average. Most patients find it easy to resume their usual activities within this period including TV watching, reading and resuming official duties also.

 

EXTRACAPSULAR CATARACT EXTRACTION

Extracapsular Cataract Extraction is a method of cataract surgery that involves removing the eye’s natural lenses while the elastic capsule that covers the lens is left partially intact to allow implantation of an intraocular lens (IOL). This procedure requires a much smaller incision than the much older process called Intracapsular Cataract Extraction in which the lens and the entire capsule were removed, but its incision is still larger than that of the Phaco.

 

YAG LASER

During cataract surgery, the intraocular lens, which has become cloudy, is permanently removed and replaced with an implant lens. Once removed, the cataract can never come back. However, the thin membrane that holds the implant lens in place can eventually become hazy and cause blurry vision. If this occurs, YAG laser capsulotomy can be performed to restore your clear vision. The procedure is painless and takes only a few minutes to perform in the office. It involves using a laser to create a small opening in the thin membrane while leaving the implant lens untouched.

 

At St Edmunds Eye Clinic and Hospital, we offer all these surgeries and can help you take better care of your eyes to avoid further damage. Contact us if you have any cataract issues, or any other eye challenge.