Do You Have Cataracts?
Would you like to be independent or less dependent on glasses?
We offer customised cataract surgery, customising your intraocular lens choice to meet your visual and lifestyle needs.
What is a Cataract?
The intraocular lens in the eye focuses light on the retina. It sits behind the pupil and iris. The retina is like a photographic plate or film at the back of the eye. A cataract develops when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opacified. Cataracts usually develop slowly. Cataracts affect the quality of your vision.
Symptoms of cataracts
- glare, especially whilst driving at night
- blurred vision
- needing more light to be able to perform fine vision activities such as reading or sewing
Cataract surgery is quick, low risk, involves minimal down time and is highly successful. Due to its high success rate cataract surgery is the most commonly performed operation. Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with a clear intraocular lens.
We use topical anaesthesia, which involves eye drops to numb the eye and intravenous medications to make you drowsy and to remove pain. There are no injections around the eye. A tiny incision (2.2 mm) is made into the cornea (the clear part at the front of the eye) and the lens is removed with ultrasound (phacoemulsification). A replacement lens made of acrylic is rolled up and injected into the eye through the initial tiny incision to replace the old lens. Recovery of vision can take a day to several days, in most cases. Eye drops are prescribed for 4 weeks.
Cataract surgery is performed as day surgery. You have the benefit of going home the same day.
Cataract surgery is an invasive procedure that carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek an opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Types of Intraocular Lenses
There are many intraocular lens types to choose from. We are happy to explain all lens options to find the right lens to fit your lifestyle and needs. We endeavour to give you the best possible vision with cataract surgery.
This lens has only one focal point. Monofocal lenses are still the most commonly used and safest lens option available. With both eyes focused for distance, most patients won’t need glasses for distance but will need them for intermediate activities (using the computer) and reading.
Monovision – this involves using monofocal lenses in both eyes. The dominant eye is focused for distance and the non-dominant eye is focused for reading. That is, the focus of the two eyes is different. Patients are independent of glasses with this technique. However not everyone is comfortable with monovision and some may feel out of balance or seasick. It is best to reserve this technique for those who could tolerate monovision with a contact lens trial or natural monovision, before they developed significant cataract.
Extended Depth of Focus Lens – Symfony lens
These are lenses that focus the eye for distance and then give a continuous range of vision to near. Studies indicate that with both eyes implanted the rate of spectacle independence is approximately 93%. Around 5–10% of patients report significant haloes and glare at night. These symptoms usually improve with time. Some patients report they need glasses to read fine print in low light conditions. Rarely, if a patient is not happy with their vision, the lens will need to be removed and replaced (lens exchange).
Multifocal Intraocular Lens
These are also known as tri-focal lenses. These lenses have three distinct focal points, distance, intermediate, and near.
The vision is blurred in-between these three focal points. Studies indicate that up to 96% of patients are independent of spectacles. Almost all patients report haloes and glare at night. These improve over time, usually taking months to improve. Uncommonly, if a patient is not happy with their vision with a multi-focal lens, the lens will be removed and replaced (lens exchange).
This is a relatively new lens that utilises the pinhole principle to improve the depth of focus. It is usually inserted into one eye only. This lens can help reduce dependence on glasses. It’s success is dependant on the type of lens used in the other eye, such as a monofocal lens or an extended depth of focus lens.
Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery
A femtosecond laser can be used to assist with cataract surgery. The laser is used to perform the first one third of the operation, the corneal incisions, capsulorrhexis and lens disruption. Whilst the laser is exciting technology it has not been proven to improve the results of cataract surgery. Laser assisted cataract surgery is available but generally not recommended as it introduces an additional cost with no proven benefit.