The risks and advantages of cataract surgery

The purpose of this essay is to educate you on cataract surgery in general. This booklet should answer the majority of your questions. It is not designed to replace a conversation with your physician, but rather to serve as a jumping-off point for discussion. If you have any concerns or want more explanations after reading it, please contact a member of your healthcare team.

The word “cataract” refers to ocular clouding. When the lens of the eye gets obscured, a cataract occurs. This is a natural part of aging. Cataracts may develop in younger individuals as a consequence of other medical conditions, such as diabetes, or as a result of inflammatory diseases, such as uveitis or lens injury.

What is the reason behind your requirement for cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is often done to improve the clarity of one’s vision. Due to the progress of contemporary surgical techniques, it is no longer necessary to wait for the cataract to “ripen.” Cataract surgery may be done at any time, but the tiny percentage risk must be well justified. In other words, if the therapy has a detrimental effect on your lifestyle, it will be conducted. This is determined by your perception of how the procedure will influence your vision and the advice of your expert about the treatment’s risks.

Additionally, you will be informed if you have any other eye conditions that might affect the procedure’s result or make it somewhat more dangerous. You have a lower likelihood of requiring eyeglasses for distance vision and may just need reading glasses.

How is a cataract surgical procedure performed?

The cataract is removed with a vibrating needle and a stream of fluid; this procedure is called phacoemulsification. This is the safest contract surgery currently available since the little incision heals rapidly and seldom needs stitches. We remove the cataract using “state-of-the-art” technology. Please bear in mind that we do not use lasers to remove cataracts.

A small incision is made at the margin of the cornea, the clear window of the eye, to get access to the cataract. The membranes of the cataract are preserved to anchor the implant in place. This membrane becomes clear once the cloudy substances are eliminated. Regrettably, the membranes have a tendency to get cloudy with time. After five years, the probability of this happening with a perspex implant is around 50%. However, we prefer acrylic or silicone implants since they have a substantially lower risk of opacification (cloudiness) – between 5% and 30% after five years. If membrane opacification occurs, vision may be restored with a simple outpatient laser operation. Click here to check what to avoid before cataract surgery.

cataract surgical procedure

Is it necessary for me to wear glasses after cataract surgery?

The majority of patients who have cataract surgery will continue to use glasses.

Artificial intraocular lenses (IOLs) are available in a range of strengths (powers), and the surgeon may choose one that enhances your focus for distant or close vision.

In the majority of cases, an IOL with acceptable distance vision will be implanted to eliminate your need for glasses. While you will mostly wear glasses for reading, you may also require glasses for fine distance focusing.

Certain persons may elect to have excellent near vision without the need of glasses (for reading or for detailed close work such as embroidery). If you take this path, you’ll almost certainly need distance glasses. This is an option worth discussing with your surgeon at your cataract assessment clinic visit.

Multifocal intraocular lenses (IOLs) are lenses that attempt to correct vision for both distant and close objects, enabling you to go almost completely without spectacles; nevertheless, they are not covered by the NHS.

Are there any potential disadvantages or risks?

As with every procedure, certain modest hazards exist. While complications following cataract surgery are infrequent, they may be extremely severe, with potentially life-changing effects, and we feel required to inform you about them. The majority of surgical complications are treatable. All of these factors may contribute to a delay in the healing of your eye. You may need further treatments or therapy and may require extra follow-up appointments. In rare situations, hospitalization may be necessary to resolve issues.

Following a cataract surgery, the risk of losing sight or even an eye is considered to be less than 0.03 percent.

You may be certain that we will not consider cataract surgery for your eye unless and until we have discussed the risks and benefits with you. We will discuss any additional hazards that may apply to your situation at the pre-operative assessment clinic. With these risks in mind, cataract surgery should not be undertaken carelessly. This is not an “easily accomplished operation.” It is a serious eye operation.

The risks and complications of cataract surgery are explained in detail in this section.

The duration of the cataract surgery

Typically, the implant (intraocular lens) is put on the membrane damaged by the cataract during the cataract surgery operation (called the posterior capsule). A hole may form in this membrane for a number of reasons (posterior capsule rupture), resulting in further complications. Repositioning the implant inside the eye or deferring implant insertion until a later date may be necessary.

If a hole develops in the capsule, vitreous humor (the gel that fills the back of the eye) may escape, increasing the risk of retinal detachment and needing additional surgical operations during or after the cataract surgery. If you are living in Australia these are the most professional in the area.

Another concern linked with posterior capsule rupture is that some or all of the cataract may collapse into the rear part of the eye. This condition needs more specialist surgery. This may take either instantly or over the course of a few days.

Bleeding inside the eye may occur during cataract surgery, resulting in vision loss. • Additionally, local anesthetic procedures may result in bruising behind the eye. This might result in a delay in the process or perhaps visual loss due to tension on the ocular nerve.

While the majority of cataract procedures are conducted with a small incision, some need “conversion” to a larger wound approach due to technical difficulties during surgery. Occasionally, your surgeon may decide right away that a larger wound is the best solution for your eye condition. According to research, visual results one year after surgery are strikingly equal among surgeries. 

Although stitches are seldom used on bigger wounds, they may need to be removed or repositioned over the post-operative period.

While smaller incisions are not stitched, one or two stitches may be given to a small wound during the treatment if required. These sutures are often removed immediately after the cataract surgery (a painless out-patient procedure).