Cataract surgery is performed in patients who have the problems with vision caused by structural changes in the lens. The lens is normally transparent and allows the light to pass through. In cataract the lens become cloudy which consequently interferes in normal passage of the light and leads to gradual loss of vision.
The goal of the surgery is re-establishment of the vision which is successfully achieved by removal of the affected lens. The structurally changed lens is replaced with permanent intraocular lens implant. This implant helps patients to restore focusing ability of the eye.
Before the surgery the patients are thoroughly examined by the surgeon. All the patients who undergo cataract surgery are due to report medications they are taking since some medications can cause certain postoperative complications. If a patient needs to have an operation on both eyes the surgical repair is firstly performed on one eye and the other eye is operated after certain period of time.
The very procedure lasts approximately 10 minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis. Before the removal of the lens patients are given eye drops which will dilatate the pupil and provide with easier access to the lens. The patients are also administered a sedative as well as local or topical anesthetic.
Recovery Time and Complications of Cataract Surgery
After the surgical removal of the lens the eye is covered with a protective shield and patch. During the recovery patients are due to apply eye drops several times a day. Patients are also advised not to expose the operated eye to bright light. The vision may be blurred for certain time and this is normal reaction after the cataract surgery. Patients are strictly forbidden to perform strenuous activities of any kind and to swim. They are also obliged to keep the operated eye closed during showering and bathing. Exposure to dust, grime and other potential irritants and contaminants is also banned. This can cause infection and interfere in the process of healing.
The surgery does not carry significant risk of complications. Complications after cataract surgery include postoperative glaucoma, phacoemulsification, infections, detachment of retina and endophthalmitis. Some of the complications occur in healthy patients while others are actually caused by comorbidity.
In patients who are implanted an artificial lens possible complication is secondary cataract.
Outcome of Cataract Surgery
The results of the operation are satisfying. However, the best results are achieved in younger patients. The vision cannot be restored to full extent. Still the vision becomes good enough for certain activities such as driving.