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Cataracts Cataracts

Cataracts

A cataract is a common ophthalmic condition which causes clouding of the natural lens in the eye. The condition is often inevitable as we age and about 60% of people in their 60s and above experience this condition. It usually develops gradually, clouding the natural lens and making the vision in the affected eye misty. Cataracts are one of the most common causes of vision loss worldwide. 

The word cataract is derived from a Greek word called Cataracti, and this means waterfall. In an advanced stage, cataract can take the form of a waterfall. Ageing is a factor that influences the development of cataracts. Some people may develop it earlier than others, but it is one of the inevitable occurrences in later life.

The upside is that cataracts are treatable and advances in technology have made cataract treatment safe, simple, and more effective.

Symptoms Of Cataracts

For the eyes to work properly, the natural lens needs to be clear, so light can pass through to our retina. When lenses become cloudy this stops light passing through and in turn we cannot see properly or clearly. Usually, light passes through the lens to the retina at the back of the eye. Then the optic nerves send signals to the brain, which interprets the image as what we see, but in people with cataract, less light passes through the lens to the retina, and this affects vision.

Cataracts usually develop slowly, and it eventually leads to a gradual loss of clear vision. Patients with cataracts typically complain of the following symptoms:

  • Mistiness or cloudiness
  • Changes in prescription glasses
  • Increased scattering of light which causes dazzling when their eyes are exposed to bright light
  • A loss or fading colour vibrancy (this usually occurs gradually and is not apparent)

Causes Of Cataracts

A common cause of cataract is ageing, but a few other factors like the following could cause cataracts:

  • Use of steroids
  • Diabetes
  • Ocular inflammation
  • Previous trauma
  • Genetics- some people have a family history of cataracts and have an increased risk of developing it
  • UV damage resulting from direct exposure to sunlight
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Treatment Of Cataracts

Cataracts can be treated solely by undergoing surgery to remove the natural lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens.

Cataract surgery

Cataracts surgery in the UK is prevalent, and thousands of people successfully undergo the surgical procedure yearly. Cataract surgery usually lasts for about 30 minutes, mainly under local anaesthetic.

This cataract procedure requires a small surgical incision around the edge of the cornea, creating an opening through the membrane surrounding the lens. The next step involves inserting a small ultrasonic probe into the opening to break up the cloudy lens into tiny fragments using soundwaves. An attachment on the probe tip is then used for suction of broken down cataract fragments.

Once the lens particles are removed, an intraocular lens implant also referred commonly as an IOL, is implanted in the natural lens capsule. A hollowed out tube is used by the ophthalmologists to insert the IOL through a tiny corneal incision.

Femtosecond laser cataract surgery

It is a new type of cataract surgery now used by most surgeons to remove cataracts. It involves the use of femtosecond laser technology and ultrasound technology. The surgeon uses the special laser to remove cataracts, and this minimises the need for manual removal of cataracts.

The special laser is called femtosecond laser and the surgeon programmes it to make precise incisions between the lens and cornea, and, then the surgeon uses a sophisticated ultrasound device to remove cataracts.

Risks Of Cataracts Surgery

The risks associated with cataracts surgery are small compared to its benefits. On rare occasions, Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO) occurs. This complication makes vision become cloudy because new membranes form over the new lens. However, this complication can be handled by using a special laser to remove the membrane.

Other possible complications of cataracts surgery include:

  • The detachment of the retina
  • Bleeding or infection
  • Tearing of the capsule bag

Notwithstanding, cataracts surgery is arguably the safest modern surgical procedure. Before your surgery, your surgeon will discuss all the risks with you and discuss how you can avoid them.

Cataract surgery does not take long, and the recovery period is also short. You can get an experienced surgeon at Optimal Vision for your cataract surgery. Call us now on 020 7183 3725 to book an appointment for your cataracts surgery.

Book A Consultation
With Ophthalmic Consultant
Book a Consultation Today

or call: 020 7183 3725

Dr Amir Mani - Specialist refractive surgeon

One of the most experienced refractive surgeons in London

Dr Mani has performed more than 20,000 ophthalmic procedures, including LASIK, LASEK, PRK, Femto Cataract, RLE, Lens ICL and Phakic IOL Surgery

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