Cataract Surgery


What is a Cataract?

A cataract is the clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye that is located behind the iris (see diagram). The lens normally focusses light on the retina at the back of the eye which then sends a signal to the brain enabling us to see.

When the lens becomes more cloudy less light passes to the retina and your vision decreases, a bit like being in a car with a steamed up windscreen!

Who Gets Cataracts?

Cataracts are very common and most occur as part of the normal ageing process. Infact, it is estimated that 70% of the population over the age of 65 have cataracts.

However, sometimes cataracts develop in younger patients. This maybe particularly true where there is a history of diabetes, steroid use, trauma or genetic predisposition.

What Symptoms may I notice?

These vary from patient to patient but the most common symptoms are frequent changing of prescription for glasses or contact lenses, blurred vision, sensitivity to light with dazzle from bright lights (most evident at night e.g. when driving), difficulty reading and difficulty performing intricate tasks.

The symptoms generally evolve slowly and maybe very subtle to begin with.

When should I have my cataract treated?

There are no specific guidelines but Miss Amerasinghe would generally recommend surgery when your vision is reduced enough to affect your quality of life, for example reading or driving.

What does Surgery involve?

Miss Amerasinghe employs the latest techniques and uses the most advanced lenses meaning that most surgical procedures take less than 20 minutes, as part of a day case surgery package.

She has performed thousands of cataract procedures and is a particular expert in complex cataract surgery.

Surgery involves the removal of the cloudy lens and replacing it with a new highly technical synthetic lens. There are many different types of lenses that can be used and Miss Amerasinghe can help advise you of the best one for your individual eye.

A small incision is made in the cornea (outer layer of the eye). A very small instrument is placed through the hole. This emits ultrasonic waves which can be used to break up the lens with the cataract and subsequently remove the pieces from the eye. This process is known as Phacoemulsification.

The procedure is normally performed awake with local anaesthetic drops placed in the eye. This generally means patients are more comfortable, with less complications than associated with injections, have a quick recovery and avoid the side effects of a general anaesthetic.

There is a team in the theatre to ensure you are comfortable, relaxed and to alleviate any concerns.

What happens after Surgery?

Immediately after the operation you will go to the recovery room. A protective pad and shield will be placed over your eyes for a few hours during which time the local anaesthetic will wear off. The eye maybe a little uncomfortable but regular simple analgesics will normally be enough to alleviate it. However, the majority of patients don't require any painkillers at all.

Steroid drops (to decrease inflammation of the eye) and antibiotic drops (to lessen the chance of infection) will be required afterwards and at home. The eye normally improves within a few days but can take a few months to be completely back to normal.

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02380 083575

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