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Advances and Controversies in Cataract Surgery

The increased life expectancy is one of the main reasons why cataracts affect over 100 million people in the world. Yesterday, we had a new machine introduced at Clinica London, called the Optos Californian, and I was a test subject.
My vision is excellent. I can see with my spectacle correction easily 20/20 in each eye. Still, I have noticed on reading, particularly at night, that the vision in my left eye is not quite as clear as in my right. Therefore,  I have to hold my book at a slightly different distance and angle to the light. This is despite having had new glasses only a month ago. So when I had the Optos test, it was fascinating. The Optos machine takes a picture of my entire retina through a small pupil without dilation. Of course, the pupil can be dilated to get even a better view, and the machine can be put at an angle to show the upper and lower retina as well. So what did I see?
First of all, we could see my floaters, as I am slightly short-sighted. I have floaters which are occasionally troublesome against a white wall, or blue sky.
They also said there was a blur there and wondered if it might be a cataract. “Goodness gracious me. Me? A cataract? could this be possible?” I am young; I am healthy. I do wear sunglasses, but I have had a lot of sun exposure and done a lot of skiing, swimming and sailing. So yes, it is possible. Using my medical insurance, I am going to see one of my
Using my medical insurance, I am going to see one of my colleagues just to get it checked. There is no way I am going to need surgery yet, but it is a wake-up call to lifestyle. I am certainly going to make sure that I have a much healthier diet, wear my dark glasses, and get my glasses checked regularly and also that I have my Optos scan of my retina done regularly.
What else did they find? Well, they found a tiny little black spot in my retina which is a little pigmentation clump sitting in the choroid underneath the retina. It is probably of no consequence, but I am certainly going to get it checked again by the medical retina doctor in a year.

So, is it a good idea to have one’s eyes screened?

Yes, I think it is. Having an eye assessment with the vision being tested can be initially frightening. Still, it is also very reassuring as you know what is going on inside the eyes. The Optos Californian screen of the whole of the vitreous, optic disc, macula and retina can show small usual pathologies in the eyes, and that there is nothing unpleasant hiding in the dark confines of the retina.
It was reassuring to see my healthy optic disc and my healthy macula. And even though I may have a very early cataract and a tiny benign pigmented lesion, I have got excellent ophthalmologists to look after me. Should I ever require surgery, I would be pleased to have this done, as the advances in cataract surgery are so superb. I have to look forward to phaco cataract surgery, laser phaco cataract surgery, even having the lens dissolved. All this is on the horizon.


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