Cataract Lens surgery

Cataract lens surgery is widely performed all over the country today by eye surgeons. In this surgery, the cloudy natural lens is removed from the eye and it is replaced with a permanent intra ocular lens implant. The cataract lenses help restore focusing power and vision.

The decision when to have cataract implant lens surgery is not standard and different physicians have different criteria. In general, the decision when to perform surgery depends on your ability to see and perform daily living activities. Most people are able to drive watch TV or work when the cataracts first appear. However, with time, the vision gets cloudy and blurry and hence surgery is recommended. One of the first signs of cataracts is the appearance of ghost images and declining visual clarity. Colors often start to fade and one has difficulty performing home or work related activities.

Once cataracts have been diagnosed, you will undergo a thorough eye exam and a date will be set for cataract lens replacement. Cataract surgery is strictly an elective procedure and one should never be rushed into the procedure. Just prior to surgery, ask your doctor what medications you need to continue and which ones you need to discontinue. For example, medications like aspirin have to be stopped for at least 7 days prior to cataract lens replacement. The type of lens implanted may be either a regular single vision lens or a presbyopia correcting intraocular lens as a replacement for your natural lens. Multifocal intraocular lenses greatly diminish your need for glasses or eliminate them completely.

Before cataract implant lens surgery, you will be provided with instructions on how to look after your eye.

Surgery for cataracts can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes depending on the surgeon's experience. Most surgeons usually operate on one eye at a time to allow for healing. The second eye is usually operated on after 4-6 weeks. All cataract surgery is done on an outpatient basis. The surgeon is done with local or topical anesthesia and is a painless procedure. The surgery is done with the aid of a microscope. During the surgery, you will be monitored and the cataract will be removed by either ultrasound or may be aspirated if it is soft and spongy. Once the cataract is removed, the new lens is implanted and the incision is closed with a very fine suture.

After surgery, a protective shield is placed over the eye and you will need someone to drive you home after a shirt stay in the recovery room. A variety of eye drops will be prescribed for the next few weeks. The protective eyewear should be worn while sleeping for at least 1-2 weeks after surgery. One may also require sunglasses to prevent glare from bright lights.

During the first week after surgery one should avoid all strenuous activity, be gentle when showering or bathing and not expose the operated to eye to dust, fumes, smoke or any other irritant. Cataract lens surgery can be safely performed today in most centers but before signing up for the procedure, do make an effort to check up on your surgeon.