Cataracts are a very common condition. As people age, everyone develops some amount of cataract, but not everyone requires surgery. If one thinks of the eye as a camera, then there is the film at the back of the camera, which is called the retina and inside the camera there is a lens for focusing. The eye has a lens and when it becomes cloudy with age, it is called a cataract. A cataract is a cloudy lens.
Surgery is required when the vision becomes impaired. Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed. The cataract is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens. The operation is performed under local anaesthesia. This is not a painful procedure and is done in the day surgery. There are several follow up visits over two to three months, by which time most people’s vision will stabilize. Eye drops are used for four weeks post-operatively.
After surgery, glasses may be needed to read. Some patients may develop a clouding of the lens capsule at a later date causing blurring, which can be treated in the Doctors’ rooms with Yag laser. This is a painless five minute procedure.
There are risks associated with all operations and about 98% do well. 1% do poorly, 1% do very badly. About 1/1000 will develop an infection and/or haemorrhage where they may lose their vision completely, sometimes ever needing removal of the eye.