What is a cataract?
A cataract occurs when the lens of the eye becomes clouded, making it difficult to perform activities like reading and driving.
What are the symptoms?
Some common symptoms include blurred vision, sensitivity to light and double vision in one eye.
How can cataracts be treated?
In many cases, the only effective way to treat cataracts is to have them surgically removed. Before your ophthalmologist recommends surgery, however, he will perform a thorough eye examination to see if the procedure is the best option. This ophthalmologic examination includes:
- Visual acuity test An eye chart is used to measure whether you have 20/20 vision or if your vision is impaired.
- Slit-lamp examination Your doctor will use a special microscope to look at the structures at the front of your eye under magnification. In this test, the cornea, iris, lens, and space between the iris and cornea are illuminated so that any abnormalities can be detected.
- Retinal exam During a retinal exam, drops are placed in the eyes in order to dilate the pupils. Your doctor can then examine your lens for signs of a cataract with the use of a slit lamp or an ophthalmoscope.
How does the surgery work?
During cataract eye surgery, your surgeon will remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial lens known as an intraocular lens.
Cataract treatment is typically conducted under general anesthetic so that the eye and surrounding area is numb. Your surgeon will make a small incision in the front part of the eye, through which a small surgical tool will be inserted. The cataract is then suctioned out of the eye, before the artificial lens is inserted. Your surgeon will stitch the incision closed.
It is quite normal to feel a little discomfort for a few days after the procedure, and the eye will only be completely healed after about eight weeks. Your eye may feel itchy or watery and you may feel some mild pain for some time before your eye has completely healed.