Introduction

 

Cataract is when the clear natural lens in your eyes become cloudy. Most cataracts develop slowly and initially they may not interfere with your vision. When the condition deteriorates you may feel seeing the world through a frosted or opaque window.

 

Symptoms

 

  • Blurred or foggy vision

  • Increasing difficulty with vision at night with glare and “halos” around lights

  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription

  • Fading or yellowing of colors

  • Double vision through one eye

Cataract 

Normal view

 Cataract

Causes

In most of cases cataract is secondary to ageing and changes happen in protein content of the natural lens. Other less common causes of cataract include trauma to the eye, long term use of steroid medications and eye surgery.

Treatment

 

Currently there is no medical treatment for cataract and the only way to improve the vision is doing a cataract surgery. The decision on doing a surgery depends on the extent of visual impairment caused by cataract and the effect of that on your lifestyle.

Before Surgery

A measurement will be done in the office to calculate the power of the intraocular lens (IOL) used during surgery. The choices for IOLs to correct your eye sight will also be discussed with you, along with all other details about surgery and the risks and benefits of doing such a surgery. We also ask about all your medical history, the medicines you take and your allergies. 

The Day of Surgery

You will be asked to avoid eating solid foods for 6 hours and clear fluids for 2 hours before surgery.

 

Cataract surgery is generally done as a day procedure, which means you don't need to stay in the hospital overnight. It's a very safe surgery with a high success rate and very low risk of complications like infection, bleeding and severe inflammation. 

  • Your eye will be numbed using either an injection around that or numbing eye drops

  • You will also be sedated to have maximum of comfort

  • Your surgeon then will remove the cataract using sophisticated instruments and will put an Intraocular Lens (IOL)

  • Usually there is no need to put stitches and the small wounds created during the surgery are self sealed.

  • The whole surgery usually lasts around 15-20 min.

Care after Cataract Surgery

You will be discharged from the hospital with a pad or clear plastic shield on the operated eye. You can remove the pad the day after surgery but you need to keep the plastic shield on the eye most of the time during the first week after surgery.

It is normal to have some symptoms of grittiness, watery eye, mild discomfort, blurry vision and red eye but these side effects usually revolve in a few days. The full recovery after cataract surgery may take 4 to 6 weeks.

When to Seek Help

If you have an increasing pain or eye redness or your vision is deteriorating, you need to call your surgeon immediately or see an ophthalmologist in Emergency Department at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

Dos and Don'ts

 

For the first weeks after surgery:

Do

  • Your normal daily activities including watching TV, reading on computer and going for a walk outside

  • Use the drops prescribed to you after the surgery

  • Have your eye shield on the operated eye, especially at night, for 1 week

  • Take a quick shower while having the shield on the eye

Don'ts

 

  • Rub the eye

  • Swim for 4 to 6 weeks

  • Do any strenuous activities

  • Wear make up for 4 weeks

  • Drive until confirm it with your surgeon