Cataract procedures for those whose vision is impaired by cataract.
The eye is like a camera with lenses in the front and film (called the retina) at the back. There are two lenses at the front of the eye. The cornea is the clear outside lens on the front of the eye, in front of the pupil. Behind the pupil is the crystalline lens which provides final fine focus when you are young for reading up close. Cataract is when the crystalline lens becomes cloudy or foggy.
When your cataract gives you cloudy or foggy vision such that you cannot perform certain tasks with ease, a cataract procedure may be recommended. In this day procedure, usually performed under anaesthetic drops and sedation, without injections around the eye, the cataract is removed and replaced with a crystal clear artificial intraocular lens (IOL). You usually can go home an hour later without a patch over the eye, and vision improves rapidly.
Once undertaken successfully a cataract procedure never needs to be performed again.
It is Australia’s most common and safest prosthetic procedure. Want to know more about our results? Click here.
Side Effects of Cataract Surgery
As we use no needles and no injections around the eye the only side effects from the procedure’s anaesthetic are a little drowsiness. This is why we say no driving or major decisions for 24 hours after the sedation. Side effects from cataract surgery itself, though rare, are covered in our informed consent. Click here for further information about possible risks and complications.
Types of cataract surgery
- The most common type of cataract surgery, known as “phacoemulsification”, or phaco for short, uses ultrasound to break up the cataract into a fine powder called “emulsificate”. This is flushed out of the eye with a special fluid (BSS). An intraocular lens (IOL) is then inserted to where the cataract previously existed within the eye.
- Laser cataract surgery uses a laser to break up the cataract into small pieces instead of ultrasound. Though laser is still used in some centres, the major studies have not proven its benefit, and it is very expensive. Therefore at Laser Vision SA we no longer use the laser for cataract surgery.
Types of anaesthetic for cataract surgery.
- General anaesthesia (going right to sleep) is very rarely performed now for cataract surgery
- Peribulbar anaesthesia uses a needle around the eye within the eye socket to block the sensory and muscle nerves around the eye from working. There is a rare risk of complications due to the needle puncturing the wrong structures within the eye socket or even the eye itself. Alternatively the anaesthetic can be injected into the wrong place causing complications. Finally, injectional anesthesia means an eye patch must be worn over the eye afterwards whilst the anaesthetic wears off. This can be uncomfortable or irritating, and is particularly difficult for patients who do not have good vision in the other eye.Therefore almost all our procedures from Laser Vision SA are performed under “topical anaesthesis” or “no needle anaesthesia”.
- Topical anaesthesia uses drops only to numb the eye with our without mild sedation delivered via an arm vein. Topical means there are none of the risks associated with injections around the eye
When should I have cataract surgery?
As the video below explains, you should have cataract surgery when your wish for better vision is more than your worries about cataract surgery’s small risks.