Cataracts

personalEYES offers laser cataract surgery and CustomLens™ to patients in Canberra, Parramatta, and other locations in NSW. Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures around the world today because it is an effective and routine method of treating cataracts.

What Are Cataracts?

Around half of Australians aged between over 65 to 74 have cataracts. Cataracts generally develop as part of the ageing process – a ‘cloud’ forms in the lens of the eye, causing blurry or double vision and increased sensitivity to light. If left untreated, cataracts will lead to complete blindness. Cataract symptoms can include:

  • cloudy or foggy vision
  • blurry or distorted vision
  • changes in colour vision
  • frequent increases in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions
  • poor night vision (especially affected by headlights)
  • progressive loss of vision
  • halos or glare around lights
  • double vision
  • loss of contrast
  • a white or ‘milky’ spot over the pupil of the eye

A cataract may display a number of different symptoms and be caused by a variety of factors, including age, injury, and certain diseases. While some people have cataracts at birth or develop them early in life, the majority of cataract diagnoses occur in patients who are in their 60s or 70s.
cataract

Different types of cataracts

There are several types of cataracts:

Age Related Cataract

Nuclear Sclerosis

This is a hard cataract. The lens becomes hard and yellow as it ages. This usually progresses slowly over time. This type of cataract causes greater impairment of distance vision than near vision. In the early stages, the hardening of the lens causes the refractive power to change causing the lens to become myopic or nearsighted. In some cases patients are able to read without their eyeglasses, this condition is called second sight.

Cortical

This is a peripheral cataract. The cloudiness is located near the outer edges of the lens. The effect on vision varies depending on the location of the cloudiness on the lens. A common symptom is glare from light sources such as headlights of oncoming cars. Cortical cataracts vary greatly in their rate of progression.

Posterior Subcapsular

This cloudiness begins at the very back layer of the lens. This usually occurs in younger patients. The common symptoms are glare and poor vision in brightly lit conditions. Near vision tends to reduce more than distance vision. In addition to being one of the main types of age-related cataracts, posterior subcapsular cataracts can occur as a result of trauma, corticosteroid use and exposure to radiation.

Congenital Cataract

These are present at birth. This type of cataract occurs in 1 out of 2000 births. These cataracts may not affect vision. If they do, they may need to be removed. The main reasons these occur are usually the child has an associated syndrome with this, may be inherited and one third are due to undetermined causes.

Secondary Cataract

When doing cataract surgery, the surgeon removes the inner portions of the lens. The outside layer of the lens, called the capsule is left in place to hold the artificial implanted lens. This outer layer can become cloudy and cause visual disturbance. This secondary clouding is called a secondary cataract. The onset of a secondary cataract can occur within months or years after cataract surgery. It usually occurs in both eyes. This type of cataract is easily treated by laser.

Traumatic Cataract

This type of cataract is a result of either, an injury by physical force, radiation, electrical current, chemicals or disease such as diabetes. These may become present right after the injury or years later.

Causes of cataracts

Most cataracts develop as people get older, and usually they are first noticed around the age of 50-60. The reason why is not yet known. One theory is that it is caused by a disturbance in the fluids and nutrients in the lens. In younger people there are certain factors that can increase your risk of getting cataracts. These include:

  • diabetes – this can cause a secondary cataract to develop
  • an injury to the eye
  • exposure to ultraviolet light from sunlight
  • medication use such as long-term use of steroid tablets
  • smoking
  • heavy drinking
  • a family history of cataracts

What is Involved in the Surgery?

Cataract surgery is quite a routine procedure. The surgeon makes an incision, removes the defective lens and then replaces it with a new intraocular lens (IOL) to restore vision. There is currently a number of IOLs available, including multifocal options. Your doctor will advise you of the best option for you depending on your individual requirements and lifestyle. Some of the options include:

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Laser Cataract Surgery

Femtosecond laser technology has been used by LASIK eye surgeons for more than 10 years to correct refractive vision problems. This same technology can now offer cataract patients the precision and safety of laser technology.

This new femtosecond laser procedure replaces the use of a blade in the initial key steps of the surgery. We have The Alcon Lab Inc, LenSx® Laser. The LenSx laser is used in more cataract surgeries worldwide than any other femtosecond laser available today.

 

Benefits of Laser Treatment

Using the femtosecond laser offers a range of benefits over standard cataract treatment, including:

  • The procedure is less dependent on surgical skill and provides a more accurate incision and greater consistency.
  • The laser cuts with 12 times more precision than those produced by traditional surgical methods.
  • Reduced stress on the tissue of the eye and cleaner incision for improved healing.
  • The edges in the remaining capsule, which serves as a pocket for the plastic IOL, are left twice as strong.
  • Faster procedure time and better healing comfort.
  • Greater predictability of the outcome.
  • Optimises the visual performance of the IOL.

 

Am I Suitable for Laser Cataract Treatment?

Not everyone will be suitable for the laser cataract procedure, due to other conditions or the stage of cataracts. Call personalEYES today on 1300 683 937 or visit us in any of our offices in in Canberra or around NSW to find out if you are suitable.

 

The Procedure

  • A beam passes through the outer tissue without the eye needing to be open.
  • A hole is cut in the capsule and the cataract is sliced up in the laser treatment room. You may then move into another operating theatre.
  • The lens is accurately sliced up by the laser.
  • The lens is removed by suction via the incision, Phacoemulsification.
  • The replacement Intraocular Lens (IOL) is inserted into the pocket.
  • In some cases to lessen astigmatism, incisions are made within the cornea, i.e. no open cut on the surface of the eye.
  • As the incision is so clean it will rarely require stitches.

 

After the Procedure

  • You will be able to go home a few hours after the procedure with an eye shield to protect your eye.
  • Rest for 24 hours, with no straining or heavy lifting for two weeks.
  • Within 24 hours of the procedure, you will have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon.
  • The day after the operation you will be able to see reasonably well, with some distortion. Over the next week, your vision will significantly improve with full vision returning over a two to four week period.
  • You must not rub your eyes for at least two weeks after the procedure and will be advised to wear your eye shield at night for 1-2 weeks to stop you doing this accidently in your sleep.
  • Your eye may appear red or discoloured, similar to a bloodshot eye. This will disappear over the next two weeks as it heals.
  • You will need to use eye drops for up to four weeks after the procedure to reduce the possibility of infection and to assist any dry eye symptoms.

 

FAQ’s About Cataract Surgery

What is the difference between traditional cataract surgery and bladeless laser cataract surgery?

Bladeless laser cataract surgery uses a laser to make more precise incisions to remove the lens rather than a blade. The femtosecond laser is computer guided and ensures better accuracy and vision quality.

 

Can both eyes be treated at the same time?

We will usually treat the second eye one week after the first procedure. This generally makes it a more comfortable process for the patient.

 

Are there any risks?

No. Cataract surgery is risk-free; however, the experience to date with bladeless laser cataract surgery is that it reduces the risks by providing a higher level of precision and safety. Your surgeon will thoroughly discuss the risks of any procedure with you.

 

Will my health insurance cover laser cataract surgery?

Depending on your level of cover, your health fund will cover the majority of the costs but there may be some out of pocket expense. You should contact your health fund to determine your level of cover.

 

What does laser cataract surgery cost?

The cost will be slightly more than standard cataract surgery.

 

When can I return to normal activities?

You will generally be able to read comfortably within 24 hours, though full clarity will not be achieved for another week or two. You will generally be able to drive after 1–2 weeks, with some patients driving sooner.

 

Where does personalEYES perform this procedure?

We have offices in 12 locations around NSW and ACT, including Sydney CBD, Parramatta, Liverpool, Mudgee, Dubbo and Canberra. Click here for more contact information for the location nearest to you.

 

Book a consultation with personalEYES today. Call us today on 1300 68 3937 to learn more.