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All about Cataract Surgery, Side Effects, Treatment and Cost

  • Posted on- Jan 30, 2018
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Cataract is a disease caused in the eye in which the normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, causing a decrease in vision. The natural lens of the eye focuses light onto the back of the eye (the retina), so images appear clear and without distortion. The clouding of this lens during cataract formation mostly causes blurriness and distortion of vision.

Cataract is usually a very gradual process of normal aging but can occasionally develop rapidly. It can happen to newborn kids as well. Cataract commonly affects both eyes, but it is not uncommon for a cataract in one eye to advance more rapidly. Cataract is very common, especially among the elderly.

If someone’s vision gets cloudy because he is having a cataract, the doctor may suggest cataract surgery to remove the lens of eye and replace it with an artificial one. It's a common and safe procedure, and when it's done, the patients will be able to see well.

Cause of cataract is still unknown. However, most of cataracts seem to be caused by changes in the protein structures within the natural lens that occur over many years and cause the lens to become cloudy. Rarely, the cataract can occur at birth or in early childhood days as a result of hereditary enzyme defects, other genetic diseases, or systemic congenital infections.

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Some of the other factors that may lead to the development of cataract at an earlier age include excessive ultraviolet light exposure, exposure to ionizing radiation, diabetes, smoking, or the use of certain medications.

If a person is suffering from Cataract, they begin to have difficulty in doing activities they enjoy. Some of the most common complaints can be difficulty in driving at night, reading, watching television or movies, and recognizing faces.

The abnormal lens can be assumed using a variety of specialized viewing instruments. Using various tests, an ophthalmologist is able to tell how much a cataract may be affecting vision.

Normally the eye tests include testing visual acuity, glare sensitivity, color vision, contrast sensitivity, and a thorough examination of all other parts of the eye, making certain that vision loss is not due to other common eye problems, including diabetes, glaucoma, or macular degeneration.

Cataracts can make you more sensitive to glare from the sun. You might see a halo around bright lights. This can keep you from being outdoors as much as you'd like. Cataract also makes it harder to play some sports, such as skiing or golf.

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If anybody is having any of these symptoms, cataract surgery could help. Sometimes the patient might need to get surgery even if the cataract doesn't bother.

What Happens at the time of Cataract Surgery?

The patient will be awake for the procedure, but the doctor will numb the eye with medicine so that the patient won't feel any sort of pain. The doctor may also give medications to help and relax.

The surgery usually takes under an hour. The surgeon will make a tiny cut in the front of the eye, sometimes with the help of a laser. Through this, the doctor will put in a small tool to break up the cataract and gently suction it out.

The patient won't need to stay overnight at the hospital but need someone to drive them home.
If the patient is having the cataract in both eyes, he will probably get two separate surgeries, typically a few weeks apart. This gives the first eye a chance to heal.

These are three basic techniques available for cataract surgery:  

In this most modern method, cataract surgery can usually be performed in less than 30 minutes and usually requires only minimal sedation. An injection around the eye is used and, in general, no stitches are used to close the wound, and often no eye patch is required after surgery.

This procedure is mainly used for very advanced cataracts in which the lens is too dense to dissolve into fragments or when phacoemulsification is impossible. This type of technique requires a larger incision so that the cataract can be removed in one piece without being fragmented inside the eye.

An artificial lens is kept in the same capsular bag as with the phacoemulsification technique. This type of surgical technique requires a various number of sutures to close the larger wound, and visual recovery is often slower. Extracapsular cataract removal usually requires an injection of numbing medication around the eye and an eye patch after surgery.

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  • Intracapsular cataract surgery

This surgical technique requires an even larger wound than extracapsular surgery, and the surgeon removes the entire lens together with the surrounding capsule. This technique needs the intraocular lens to be placed in a different location, in front of the iris. This type of method is rarely used today but may still be useful in certain situations.

What are the Side Effects of Cataract Surgery?

Side effects are rare from cataract surgery, but some things that could happen are:
  • Eye infection or swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Retinal detachment the breaking away of a layer of tissue at the back of your eye that senses light
  • Feeling of pressure inside your eye
  • Loosening of new implant
  • Fluid buildup in your eye
  • Drooping eyelid

What are the different tests to be performed before Cataract Surgery?

Some of the different tests which are to be performed before Cataract Surgery are:
  • A-Scan
  • Keratometry
  • B-scan ultrasonography
  • Corneal Topography
  • Optical Coherence Tomography
  • Fluorescein Angiography

What is the cost of Cataract Surgery in India?

It is not easy to estimate the exact cost of cataract surgery as it is largely dependent on the type of lens used and sometimes the hospital as well. However, the cost can lie between INR5,000 to INR1,50,000.

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