What is a cataract?
An eye cataract is a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, thereby permitting less light to pass through to the eye screen. Normally chances of a cataract increase with age. Nearly 68% Americans above 80 have had a cataract during their lifetime. A cataract cannot be corrected by glasses, contact lenses, or LASIK surgery. While research is going on for medicines which will reduce the cloudiness, currently, IOL surgery is the only solution to cataracts.
Cataract surgery is now a very routine procedure which lasts about 15 minutes (apart from the preparatory steps) as an outpatient. In cataract surgery, the lens inside your eye that has become cloudy is removed and replaced with an artificial lens (called an intraocular lens, or IOL) to restore clear vision.
Cataract surgery is preceded by a rigorous examination, measurement of eye parameters, and history-taking to ensure suitability, and to determine the appropriate power of the lens to be placed. During the surgery:
· The clouded natural lens is broken into small pieces by ultrasound (phaco) emulsifiation or lasers.
· A very small incision is made and these pieces are sucked out
· The selected artificial lens is inserted through the incision positioned (normally) behind the iris and the pupil of the eye.
· The incision is closed (with or without stiches).
· A protective shield is put over the eye for physical safety of the eye.
After the surgery
· You will be kept in rest for about an hour so that the anesthetic effect reduces. You will be given dark glasses to wear outdoors and in bright light.
· You can get someone to drive home.
· You can remove the eye shield at home but must wear it at night.
· In case there is some abnormality, report it the next day.
· You should see quite clear images by the next day or even earlier.
· Normally far vision will be corrected, but you may be prescribed reading glasses after about a month.