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When we deal with your eye problems, you can expect to be treated with the same degree of care and commitment as if you were a member of our family.
Cataract refers to the naturally clear lens in the eye becoming cloudy or milky. This results in a degraded quality image being focused on the retina, leading to impaired or blurred vision.
Generally cataracts are the result of the natural aging process. They develop slowly and most people are not affected until their 60’s or older. In some cased cataracts may be present at birth, or can develop as a result of trauma or can be drug induced.
Symptoms can include any or all of the following:
Cataracts are one of the commonest causes of reduced vision, glare and sometimes distortion in vision. Treatment involves surgery to remove the cataract through a very small incision in the front of the eye using ultrasound. An artificial lens is inserted through the small incision, which unfolds inside the eye into the correct position. The small incision then seals itself or occasionally is closed with one or two sutures.
Lens implants are permanent and generally do not need to be replaced – they will last for the life of the patient. While most patients experience improved vision as soon as one day after surgery, at times you may still need to wear reading or prescription glasses. Your clinical team will discuss this with you prior to the procedure.
After surgery, the eye will be padded overnight on the first night, and we usually recommend the use of a clear plastic shield overnight to protect the eye for the first week after surgery. Driving is not permitted for 24 hours following surgery, due to the sedation used. The vision will initially be blurry but it should clear over the following days and continue to improve over the next month to two months. New spectacles are usually prescribed at six weeks following the surgery.
The eye often feels a little gritty, stingy and irritated for the first week following surgery due to the surgery and the tear film will take a little while to return to normal. Mild mucous, a small amount of bloody discharge and watering of the eye is quite common. It is also quite normal to be sensitive to light after surgery. Severe pain may indicate that the pressure in the eye is elevated or that an infection may be developing. A reduction in vision may suggest an infection or inflammation or development of retinal problems such as retinal detachment. These complications are however rare. Should any complications such as severe pain or loss of vision occur, it is advisable to contact your eye doctor as soon as possible.
For at least four weeks following surgery eye drops will be required on a frequent basis. Occasionally tablets may be prescribed to help control the intraocular pressure following surgery. It is recommended that the eye is kept clean following surgery and care should be taken while showering to avoid getting water in the eye for the first two weeks. You should also avoid prolonged coughing, strenuous activity or exercise, gardening, bending, or heavy lifting (greater than 10kg) for at least two weeks following surgery. Eye makeup should not be worn for at least two weeks, and swimming should be avoided for at least four weeks following surgery. It is fine to perform your usual daily activities after a few days as long as care and hygiene is maintained.
Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed surgeries in Australia.
No – however clouding of the capsule (the outer lining wall of the cataract which is left in place during surgery to hold the new implant) can occur months or years after cataract surgery. If this occurs, a simple procedure using a YAG laser can easily and painlessly open a small hole in the capsule to restore normal clear vision.