What is a cataract surgery?
A cataract surgery is a procedure that can help correct the clouding of the lenses caused by cataracts. Innovations in technology make it possible for people with cataracts to have their vision restored so that they can live normally. Cataracts can be very debilitating especially to patients with old age and can have such a huge impact on your ability to perform your day to day activities properly.
Cataracts makes the lenses of the eyes opaque and makes it impossible for light to pass through and results to blurry vision. Cataract surgery involves dissolving the cloudy lens and replacing it with artificial lens.
What cataract surgery techniques are available to patients in Maui?
Different techniques can be employed by your doctors when performing cataract surgery, as shown below:
- Phacoemulsification – this is the most common method used for cataract surgery. This procedure involves making a small incision in the eye surface, near the cornea and using a thin ultrasound probe. This will be inserted into the incision and will send out ultrasonic vibrations that will help dissolve the clouded lens. Using the same instrument, the small pieces will be suctioned out. Once the eyes are free from cataracts, an artificial lens will be placed into the capsular bag that the clouded lens once occupied. The entire procedure would take about 30 minutes and requires very minor sedation. No stitches are used and patients are not required to wear an eye patch after the surgery.
- Extracapsular Cataract Surgery – this procedure is recommended for patients with more advanced cataract conditions because the lens will be too dense for phacoemulsification or to be broken down in fragments. This procedure will require a larger incision to be made in order for the cataract to be removed in one piece without leaving any fragments inside the eye. The artificial lens will then be placed in the eye and sutures will be needed to close the incision. The recovery time for extracapsular cataract surgery is relatively longer compared to phacoemulsification and patients will require an eye patch after the surgery.
- Intracapsular Cataract Surgery – this technique for cataract surgery involves using an even larger incision than the previous technique and your doctor will remove the entire lens as well as the surrounding capsule. The intraocular lens will be placed instead in front of the iris. This procedure is rarely used because if not done properly, can cause trauma to the eyes.
What Are the Benefits Of Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery’s benefits are many, greatly enhancing the quality of life. They include the following:
- Improved quality of vision (sharper images, brighter colors)
- Less difficulty with routine tasks (particularly night driving)
- Decreased dependency on eyeglasses
- Greater independence, regardless of age or disability
- Greater safety
Research indicates that the improved vision provided by cataract surgery reduces the risk of falls, making exercise, sports and hobbies safer. This, combined with the improved ability to read, recognize faces, and perform everyday activities with greater ease, results in improved physical health, increased sociability and longer life expectancy.
What Results Can I Expect After Cataract Surgery?
After a cataract surgery, patients can expect to come back to the clinic for follow-up checks. You will be given eye drops that will help manage the inflammation and can help prevent infection. You should expect your vision to improve a few days after your cataract surgery and you can resume work and your normal daily routine. When your vision has finally stabilized, your doctor may prescribe glasses to help improve your vision.