Cataracts develop generally 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.
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly-performed procedures around the world today where a surgeon makes an incision, removes the defective lens and then replaces it with a new intraocular lens (IOL) to restore vision.
There are 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.
Laser Cataract Surgery
Femtosecond laser technology has been used by LASIK eye surgeons for over 10 years to correct refractive vision problems. Now, bladeless laser cataract surgery can offer cataract patients the same precision and safety of laser technology.
This new femtosecond laser procedure replaces the initial key steps of cataract surgery that were previously performed using a blade. 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 the required circles with 12 times more precision than those produced by traditional surgical methods.
- Reduced stress on the tissue of the eye by using laser technology to replace the traditional blade. This makes the incision cleaner which in turn improves healing.
- The edges in the remaining capsule, which serves as a pocket for the plastic IOL, are left twice as strong as with conventional techniques.
- Better healing comfort, e.g. any incisions to reduce astigmatism are made within the cornea so there are no open cuts on the surface of the eye.
- Greater predictability of the outcome due to the accuracy of the laser.
- Faster procedure time.
- Maximises the IOL.
- Optimises the visual performance of the IOL.
Am I suitable for Laser Cataract Surgery?
Not everyone will be suitable for the laser cataract procedure, you may have other conditions or your cataracts may be at a stage that indicates standard laser cataract surgery would be more appropriate.
personalEYES has utilised two systems available to perform the laser cataract surgery.
- Alcon Lab Inc, LenSX Laser
- Technolas, CustomLens
After a thorough examination of your eye and your general health, your surgeon will determine which treatment is most appropriate you your eyes.
Call personalEYES today on 1300 683 937 to see if you are a suitable candidate.
- 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 then may 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.
- You should 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 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 a week or two to stop you doing this accidentally in your sleep.
- Your eye may appear red or discoloured, similar to a bloodshot eye, however, 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.
What is the difference between traditional cataract surgery and bladeless laser cataract surgery?
For bladeless laser cataract surgery, instead of using a blade to make the incision to remove the lens, the surgeon can now make more precise incisions using a computer-guided femtosecond laser, which is usually not possible with hands. This technology ensures better accuracy and vision quality.
Can both eyes be done 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 however there may be some out of pocket. 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, some patients sooner.
Around half of Australians between the ages of 65 and 74 have cataracts. And in this day and age, cataract surgery is the safest and best way to treat cataracts. All around the world, people suffering from cataracts get surgery to treat their condition and end up leaving with better eyesight. At PersonalEYES, we offer cataract surgery to patients all over NSW, from Canberra all the way to Parramatta....
For cataract surgery Sydney and other locations in Australia, PersonalEYES is the best place to go.
What is a Cataract?
Cataracts develop when the lens in your eye develops fog. The lenses in your eye are normally clear, and when fog develops, it's called a cataract. Your eyes work by letting in light through a lens which is then processed by the brain into the images we see all the time. Whenever you look at something, the light from that object passes through the lenses in your eye, so a cloudy lens can greatly impact your regular and distance vision.
A clouded lens can slowly develop over time, and when a cataract occurs, you won't be able to see properly. The main symptom of cataracts is blurry vision, and they are more common in older people. In fact, most cataracts start to develop when a person reaches 40. Other cataract symptoms include sensitivity to bright lights, vision loss, double vision, and poor night vision, among others.
What Are the Types of Cataracts?
Currently, an eye doctor will not only be able to detect whether or not you have a cataract but even the type of cataract you have. There are a couple of different types of cataracts, all of which can cause blurred vision and damage the normal vision you're used to.
Understanding the type of condition you have can dictate whether you need cataract surgery or another type of treatment. Below are the different types of cataracts;
These are also called peripheral cataracts, as the cloudy-ness develops around the edges of your eye's natural lens. Depending on the location of the cataract, the effects can be different. The most common symptom of cortical cataracts is developing glare when you look at bright lights. However, this condition may also lead to blurred vision or vision loss if not treated with cataract eye surgery or other treatment methods.
This is a hard cataract that progresses slowly. Over time, nuclear sclerosis causes your eye's lens to turn yellow, which greatly affects your vision. Nuclear sclerosis is known to impair long-sighted vision more than near-sighted vision. In some cases, patients develop nearsightedness and may need to start reading with eyeglasses.
Congenital cataracts occur at birth and occur in around 1 out of every 2,000 births. Sometimes, these cataracts have no effect on a person's vision at all. However, if the clouding of the lens starts to affect a person's vision, then cataract surgery is needed to remove it. Experts are still unsure as to what causes this, as over a 1/3 of the people born with congenital cataracts have the condition because of unknown causes. However, a large chunk of people with congenital cataracts inherit it or have another syndrome associated with it.
When doctors perform cataract surgery, they remove the inner lens of the eye to clear up cloudy vision. This leaves the outer lens intact to hold the artificial clear lens that they put inside. The outer portion of the lens is also called the lens capsule, and sometimes, the lens capsule can develop a cataract. When this happens, doctors refer to it as a secondary cataract. Secondary cataracts can occur a couple of months to a year after the initial surgery, even when the patient has undergone complete healing.
Secondary cataracts typically occur in both eyes and are corrected with laser eye surgery.
Traumatic cataracts occur due to an external factor. This can be an injury, radiation, electrocution, exposure to chemicals, or diseases such as diabetes. Traumatic cataracts can cause severe vision problems as it affects your natural eye lens. A traumatic cataract can occur right after an injury or slowly develop over the course of many years.
These types of cataracts begin at the very back of the lens. Posterior subcapsular cataracts usually occur in younger patients and can cause blurred vision, glare, and near vision. Posterior cataracts can occur due to age, but it isn't uncommon for them to develop because of trauma.
What Causes Cataracts?
As you could probably tell earlier, there are many things that can cause cataracts, which is why cataract surgery is one of the most common medical procedures for most eye surgeons in Australia. Considering the fact that almost 700,000 Australians live with cataracts, it's a fairly common condition amongst older people.
Most cataracts start to develop when a person is between 40-50, but there are a number of factors that can influence whether or not a person will develop them in their old age. These factors include;
- Eye injuries
- Heavy drinking
- Exposure to UV rays via sunlight
- Medication such as long-term steroid use
Can Cataracts Be Treated?
Yes, people have been treating cataracts with eye surgery since 1747, but back then, the cataract surgery cost was very high, and the success rate was fairly low at 50%. But nowadays, modern cataract surgery gives people a clear way to improve their condition and get optimal vision. There are a couple of different ways to treat cataracts, and patients get to choose between using laser technology or going through surgical removal.
Whether your cataracts are causing mild discomfort or getting in the way of your everyday life, cataract surgery is a great way to improve your vision and clear the food in your lenses. Here are the different types of cataract surgery;
This is the rarest form of cataract surgery, but it still has some applications depending on the situation. This procedure requires the eye surgeon to make a larger incision on the eye than usual to remove the entire lens and surrounding capsule. From there, they put in an intraocular lens to clear your vision.
When cataracts have a long time to develop, you can’t use the regular treatments and procedures. For advanced cataracts, doctors typically perform an extracapsular cataract extraction. This involves making a tiny incision on the eye and removing the cataract in one piece. However, this is a smaller incision than intracapsular cataract surgery, but it still needs to be large enough to remove the entire lens. From there, the intraocular lenses are installed. Sometimes, doctors even implant multifocal intraocular lenses after they remove cataracts, depending on your condition and the severity of your eye disease.
This is the most common form of cataract surgery and is the most convenient and fastest way to get rid of cataracts compared to other surgical procedures. Since this is a fairly fast treatment, it's usually an outpatient procedure that requires minimal anesthesia. This surgery is also referred to as a Phaco, and it involves making a small incision in your eye and inserting a small ultrasound probe to break up the cloudy natural lens in your eye. After breaking up the cataract, a tool is inserted to clean up the debris, and an intraocular lens is implanted.
What Happens During Cataract Surgery?
There are many different types of cataract surgery, and all of them require different techniques and methods. In this day and age, cataract surgery is a fairly regular outpatient procedure that just about any eye doctor can do. For most people with a clouded lens, a lens implant is needed. If you're experiencing a mild cataract, then you will probably undergo "Phaco."
During this type of cataract surgery, your doctor will apply a small amount of anesthesia. This happens either by an injection near your eye or topical anesthesia applied directly to your eye. Once the anesthesia takes effect, the doctor makes small corneal incisions on your eye and applies an ultrasound probe to break up the cataract.
For most types of cataract surgery, the procedure remains very similar. Corneal incisions are made on the eye, then the lens with the cataract is removed in a variety of ways. Once that is done, a new artificial lens implant is put in your eye to clear up your vision. Commonly, intraocular lenses are used for this procedure, however, sometimes doctors use a multifocal lens implant, which has its own set of benefits.
Before cataract surgery, some doctors recommend keeping away from your contact for at least 3-7 days before the procedure. The reason for this is that contacts alter the shape of your cornea, however, this has little to no bearing on cataract surgery since it is performed inside the cornea. With that said, we always recommend listening to your doctor’s recommendations as they understand your condition best.
After cataract surgery is performed, your eye doctor may ask you to wear an eye patch or protective shield to prevent infection while they monitor healing. Some doctors will also prescribe eye drops to further prevent infection and complications down the line.
After your cataract surgery, you might experience light sensitivity, dry eyes, and some eye pressure. These are usually nothing to worry about and part of the process, but if symptoms persist, it's always a good idea to consult your doctor.
In the past, wearing glasses was a must after cataract surgery. However, because of the advanced technology of intraocular lenses, you won't need them as much after your surgery. You can even choose multifocal IOLs, which can also greatly reduce the need for reading glasses and improve vision.
Depending on the severity of your condition, it will take anywhere between 1-3 months after cataract removal before your vision starts to improve. As your eye heals, you'll notice that you can see distant objects easier, the pressure in your field may be reduced, and your contrast sensitivity might even improve.
If you aren't too keen on these types of surgeries, laser cataract surgery might be a great alternative for you.
What is Laser Cataract Surgery?
Laser cataract surgery uses femtosecond laser technology that has been around for over ten years and is most commonly used by LASIK surgeons. And nowadays, those with cataracts can undergo this procedure to correct refractive errors and improve their vision. A huge benefit to laser cataract surgery is that it is a very precise and accurate outpatient procedure that can improve your vision and get you on the right path to visual recovery.
During laser cataract surgery, you still undergo a similar procedure than with standard cataract eye surgery procedures. However doctors use a laser to make an incision, making it easier to make more precise incisions before implanting a multi or mono-focal lens.
This procedure happens on an outpatient basis, so you will be able to go home right after the cataract surgery.
Benefits of Laser Cataract Surgery
So, why choose laser cataract surgery? Whether it's your first or second surgery for your eyes, laser cataract surgery can be a great choice. It still follows the same principle as standard cataract surgery, where an intraocular lens implant is placed in your eye after the cataract is removed. However, the difference is that doctors use a laser to make the incision before putting in the artificial lens.
Here are some of the befits you can reap by choosing laser eye surgery;
- Since doctors use a laser, this procedure is more precise and less reliant on surgical skill, making it safer and more consistent
- Lasers make incisions up to 12 times more accurately than scalpels
- Reduced stress on your eye allows for a smoother healing process
- The edges in the capsule which hold the IOL are left much stronger
- Allows the IOL to perform better
Do I Qualify for Cataract Surgery?
Not everyone is eligible for cataract surgery. Sadly, some people won't be able to go under this procedure because of their medical history, the state of their cataracts, or other conditions. So, to find out if you qualify for cataract treatment or surgery, call PersonalEYES today or visit our offices in Canberra and around NSW for a consultation.
We also offer other treatments that can help correct astigmatism and other visual conditions to get you seeing clearer!