Ms Laura Crawley,
BSc (Hons), MB ChB (Hons) MRCP, FRCOphth
What is Cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is a highly technical operation performed using a sophisticated microscope, micro-instruments and phacoemulsification technology, by a highly-skilled cataract surgeon. The cataract lens is replaced by an intraocular lens, the lens implant, calculated to give you the best vision for your activities and to match the other eye. Cataract surgery is usually done as a day case under local anaesthetic. It is now regarded as a highly specialised and safe operation.
What happens in modern cataract surgery?
Typically the cataract can be ‘removed’ by breaking it up into very small pieces and then aspirating or vacuuming the pieces out of the eye. By breaking it into very small pieces inside the eye the size of the opening we need to make has decreased to 2.75 to 2.2mm! This is about the length of a grain of rice or less.
Before microscopic cataract surgery was invented the wound size was typically 10-13 mm, extending 4-6 clock hours of the eyeball.
It is truly remarkable that we can now offer surgery that is safer and restore better quality vision with lens implants that are designed to be folded up from their 12 mm size to be delivered through a 2.2 – 2.75 mm incision.
Choosing when to have cataract surgery
With better safety and technology patients have more choice about when surgery might be right for them. The general advice is that just because you have a cataract it doesn’t necessarily need to be removed if you have no problems with your vision.
However, if your blurred vision is stopping you from doing the things you need to do and love to do then cataract surgery can restore clarity and your enjoyment in life.
Your optometrist will usually be the first practitioner to advise that you have cataracts. They can often make adjustments to your glasses prescription to help but after a while, that won´t help anymore and then you should consider surgery.
Choosing who to have to do your cataract surgery
You should select a surgeon who understands how the cataract affects you personally, your hobbies, your job and family activities. At your consultation for cataract assessment, you will have your vision and another eye diagnostic test is done to gauge the health of your eye. Then you should sit down and talk with your surgeon about how you use your eyes, what you like doing best, your hobbies and driving.A good surgeon will take all of this into account and guide you through the decision making to get the best cataract surgery results for you. We have five ophthalmologists who specialise in cataract surgery at Clinica London, including myself.