Q. : What are Cataracts?

Ans : Cataracts can be described as a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, part of the eye responsible for the light enabling us to have good, crisp image.

Q. : What causes Cataracts?

Ans : Most Cataracts occur as part of ageing process. However in some instances Diabetes, trauma, strong family history and various medicines and chemicals can cause Cataracts.

Q. : What are the first signs of Cataracts?

Ans : The first symptoms of Cataracts may be a change in the sharpness of vision or dulling of colours. Vision is somewhat blurred or dimmed. People may have difficulty in driving or walking on the road especially in the late evenings or night. Some people may have difficulty in reading. A few people may have problems in daytime and in bright lights also. Some may see different colours or rainbow haloes at night, double vision or multiple visions. Slowly the difficulty in vision increases and people starts having gross visual problems.

Q. : Do medicines help in Cataracts?

Ans : NO. So far none of the medicines have been found to be useful in preventing or treating Cataracts. The only treatment available for Cataract is surgical.

Q. : When one should go for surgery?

Ans : The decision to operate is determined by you and your eye Surgeon. This decision is based on the degree to which cataract is impairing your vision and its effect on your lifestyle.

Q. : Do the Cataracts have to be mature for operation?

Ans : NO. It is really an old concept. The science and surgical techniques have advanced much more in the last two decades for us not to wait for maturity of Cataracts. With the present techniques of cataract removal it is absolutely unnecessary for the person to wait and suffer. One can have the Cataract removed at any stage of its development with extremely good result.

Q. : Which is the best season for operation?

Ans : This is another misconception. Seasons have no effect on the outcome of surgery. Summer, Monsoon or winter, any season is good for surgery.

Q. : What are the options available for surgery?

Ans : A person can either undergo a conventional extra capsular extraction with intra-ocular lens implantation (ECCE) or one can now undergo a technique called “PHACO” which is latest in the world.
In E.C.C.E. (better known as micro surgery) the clouded lens is removed in one piece through a 10 to 12 mm incision and then a plastic lens (I.O.I.) is implanted through it and then the wound is stitched up.

Q. : What are the advantages of Phaco over conventional surgery?

Ans : To most patients the potential benefit of this micro incision usually results in little discomfort during or after surgery, a very fast recovery, a swiftest return to normal vision and normal activities.
When conventional surgery is done (E.C.C.E.), as the incision size is large there are quite a few restriction on activities like no bending, lifting or straining for 4 to 6 weeks after operation and visual recovery may take as long as 6 to 8 weeks.
In ‘Phaco’ the Cataract is removed through a tiny incision, about 3 mm, with the help of an instrument called “Phacoemulsifier”. The instrument vibrates over 40,000 times a second to gently fragment the Cataract in to tiny pieces which are simultaneously sucked out. In most cases it does not need any stitching.

Q. : Is Phaco Safe?

Ans : YES. Millions of such surgeries have already been performed. It is a much better and safer surgery and very satisfying to the patients and is getting very popular.

Q. : Am I too old to have Cataract surgery?

Ans : No adult is too young or too old for surgery. The general health of the patient should be considered. Diabetes and High Blood Pressure should be under control at the time of surgery.

Q. : Are glasses needed after lens implant?

Ans : Glasses prescription is generally needed either for reading, distant vision or both, but it is usually a very small power.

Q. : What if I don’t have the lens implanted?

Ans : If one undergoes cataract operation without having lens implanted then one has to wear very thick glasses without which there is almost no vision. In addition to wearing thick ‘soda bottle’ like glasses there are plenty of other disadvantages. As far as possible one must have lens implanted for the best visual outcome. I have heard so many people telling me that they have got back their years and have started feeling young after a successful lens implantation.

Q. : Are Cataracts removed with laser?

Ans : No. Nowhere in the world are cataracts removed with laser. Many people call Phaco-laser by mistake for easy understanding. After surgery sometimes the membrane over which the lens is placed starts thickening which may hamper vision. This can take place soon after surgery, sometime after it, or even after many years after the surgery. This is removed with the help of laser which is a very minor procedure involving less than a minute after which one can get back immediately to his normal work. This growth of membrane is a normal and natural process and is not due to any defect or fault in surgery. Thus we can see that with the advanced techniques cataract removal has become very easy and simple and most patients are able to enjoy a good quality of life professionally and socially after the surgery.

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