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What are cataracts?
Cataracts are described primarily as a condition that affects the normally clear and smooth lenses of the eyes, causing a decrease in visual acuity or even some degree of vision loss in more extreme cases. Getting cataracts is an extremely common condition, especially as a person gets older, as one of the results of the aging process. In some cases, cataracts do not pose a significant enough threat on the patient’s vision to require treatment, but the surgical removal of cataracts has been established to be a safe and effective procedure that results in remarkably improved vision in patients affected by the condition. Ideally, cataract surgery must be performed on patients who are experiencing vision loss because of the presence of the cataracts in their eyes.
What is cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is a surgical procedure that removes the clouded or opaque lenses of the eyes so that they may be replaced with clear artificial lenses that are intended to restore the patient’s vision. Cataract surgery is usually performed up bye and ophthalmologist has an outpatient procedure that does not require the patient to stay in the hospital for recovery after his surgery. Over the years, cataract surgery has been streamlined into a precise procedure that is generally safe and highly effective.
Primarily, cataract surgery is performed to be able to remove cataracts from the eyes of the patient. The main reason why cataracts need to be extracted from the eye is because they interfere with the patient’s normal vision, making it difficult for them to go about their normal activities. If a patient has another eye condition apart from the cataracts, cataract surgery is recommended so that treatment on the other condition becomes possible without interference from the cataracts. Usually, cataracts make it more difficult for doctors to examine the back of the patient’s eye, which may sometimes be necessary for treating and monitoring certain other eyes problems including macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. In most cases, when the cataracts are not at the stage where they can actively interfere with the patient’s vision, cataract surgery may be put off until it becomes absolutely necessary. However, cataract surgery has proven to be very helpful in helping patients to carry on with normal activities that require good visual acuity. Getting cataract surgery to alleviate an existing cataract condition can help patients see more clearly, and perform better when it comes to driving, reading, recognizing faces, identifying colors, and doing things independently without having to ask for assistance because of impaired vision.
What are the risks of cataract surgery?
Being a surgical procedure, cataract surgery is not without its risks. Usually, most of the complications that come with cataract surgery are very minor and can be treated easily. Such risks include swelling, inflammation, redness, or bleeding at the surgical site. There are, however, more serious complications from cataract surgery that have been reported and these include the development of glaucoma, retinal detachment, secondary cataract development, or vision loss.
What preparations are necessary before cataract surgery?
To ensure that a patient has prepared us for his or her cataract surgery, a series of tests will be carried out about a week prior to the scheduled procedure. Usually, an ultrasound is performed to determine the size and shape of the patient’s eyes, which will also help in identifying what type of intraocular lens Will be needed for the surgery. Patients will also be advised to discontinue the intake of medications that could potentially increase the risk of bleeding during the procedure. Antibiotic eye drops will also be prescribed and administered at least two days before cataract surgery.
What happens during cataract surgery?
- Medicated eye drops will be administered directly onto the eye to dilate the patient’s pupils, after which local anesthesia Will be given to numb the indicated surgical site.
- Cataracts can be removed using one of two procedures.
- Phacoemulsification is the procedure where an ultra-thin ultrasound probe is inserted through a tiny incision at the front of the patient’s cornea. Using this pro, ultrasound waves will be transmitted directly to the cataract formation so that it breaks up and the fragments can be suctioned out of the area.
- Extracapsular cataract extraction is another method used for cataract surgery and involves a larger institution through which a surgical tool can be inserted so that the cloudy from capsule of the lens where the cataract has formed can be extracted. This procedure is preferred if the patient has complicating conditions that could potentially interfere with the phacoemulsification method.