Everything About Cataract Surgery

Cataract affects over 80% of the population in Singapore over the age of 60, and 95% of the population over the age of 70. In fact, more than a third of adults aged 45 and up have cataracts in some form. Hence, people engage in cataract surgery done by a professional cataract surgeon. 

Other health problems, such as severe myopia, smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes, can also raise your chances of developing cataracts. People with diabetes mellitus have a 60% increased chance of acquiring cataracts, despite the fact that the causes for this are yet unknown.

What are cataracts?

The clouding of the typically clear lens of the eyes is known as cataracts. Only a small portion of the eye’s lens is normally damaged in the early stages, thus there may be no noticeable vision loss. Changes in vision appear as the cataract clouds more of the lens and distorts the light travelling through it.

What causes cataracts?

The majority of cataracts develop as a result of ageing or injury to the tissue that makes up the eye lens. They could also be caused by inherited genetic abnormalities, other eye issues, previous eye surgery, or other conditions including diabetes. Cataracts can form as a result of long-term usage of steroid medicines.

Signs and symptoms of cataracts

Cataracts can occur at any age, even if you are not at a high risk of developing them. To be cautious, keep an eye out for these symptoms and visit an eye professional for a diagnosis:

  • Things appear foggy all of the time because your vision is blurry or cloudy.
  • You have a problem with your night vision. You may begin to notice halos surrounding lights, making tasks such as driving at night more difficult.
  • Your eyes become more sensitive to bright lights, which causes discomfort.
  • You see two different images of the same object. Double vision, also known as diplopia, can impair your balance, mobility, and reading abilities.
  • Your vision may develop a brown or yellow tinge over time, affecting your ability to distinguish between different colours.

The good news is that cataract surgery in Singapore is quite prevalent and is generally considered a safe treatment. Artificial lens implants, such as multifocal and other lenses, will be able to treat short and long-sightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia all at once. If you are a candidate for multifocal lenses, you may be able to ditch your glasses and go about your regular routine with near-perfect vision.

Cataracts can be prevented from deteriorating if they are diagnosed early and treated promptly. Delayed therapy may occur when the lens is more fragile and additional problems, such as glaucoma, are present. When compared to treating the condition early, delayed surgery has a higher risk of complications, a lower success rate, and a lengthier recovery period with less favourable results.

Types of cataract surgery

There are 2 main types of surgeries to treat cataracts.

Name Description
Phacoemulsification cataract surgeryThe surgery begins with you being gently sedated: an anesthesiologist administers moderate sedation so that you are completely unaware of what is going on. After that, the doctor enters the eye by making a small incision on the cornea’s edge. The cataract will be broken up and removed with the use of ultrasound. Then, to restore your vision, an artificial lens will be placed. The wound usually closes on its own, so stitches aren’t needed.
The entire procedure takes about 30–45 minutes and is considered a day case, so you won’t have to remain overnight.
To speed recovery and avoid infection, you’ll need to use eye drops as medication after surgery. Within a month, your eye should be completely healed.
The most common cataract surgical procedure, phacoemulsification, has a success rate of 95 percent. This remains the preferred procedure for the majority of patients.
Laser-assisted cataract surgeryPhacoemulsification surgery, in which ultrasound energy is utilised to break apart the cataract, is comparable. The difference is that certain steps of the operation are replaced with lasers. The use of a femtosecond laser to remove cataracts accurately and precisely replaces the usage of hand-made incisions in laser-assisted cataract surgery.

What are the risks of cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is generally safe, although it does carry the risk of infection and bleeding that any surgery does.

The operation also carries the risk of retinal detachment. When the retina, which sits all the way back in the eye, pushes away from its original position, this happens. The following are symptoms of retinal detachment:

  • Feeling as if a curtain has fallen over a portion of your vision
  • Experiencing new floating dots in your field of view
  • Seeing light flashes

If you observe any of these symptoms, call your doctor at once.

Post-cataract surgery

Cataract surgery recovery is usually quick and painless. Within a day of the procedure, you may be able to resume your normal activities. However, you should exercise great caution during the first week following the surgery. Here are some pointers to follow in order to maximise your recovery and avoid future complications:

  • Avoid bending over right after the surgery to avoid putting extra strain on your eye.
  • If at all possible, avoid sneezing or vomiting immediately after surgery.
  • On the first day after surgery, don’t drive.
  • To avoid infections, use the antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops suggested by your doctor.
  • For a few weeks, don’t carry anything heavy or engage in vigorous activity.
  • When walking around, be cautious to avoid colliding with doors or other things.
  • To minimise infection, avoid swimming or utilising a hot tub during the first week after surgery.
  • During the first several weeks after surgery, avoid exposing your eye to irritants like dust, dirt, wind, and pollen.
  • After surgery, don’t rub your eye.

Because it will depend on your eye condition, there is presently insufficient information to indicate whether laser-assisted cataract surgery or normal cataract surgery will result in a superior outcome. To determine which cataract surgery approach is best for your eyes, consult your cataract surgeon.

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