Cataract surgery is considered by the World Health Organization to be the most rehabilitative of all surgeries worldwide. What does it mean? After surgery, a person’s vision is sometimes better than it was in their youth.
Why does this happen? A child may have had congenital cataracts, myopia, or hyperopia. All these conditions affect the quality of vision. Whereas, modern lens technology provides excellent vision and the ability to see at different distances. And the implanted lens does not lose its quality for decades.
Scientific data and medical experience show that the only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery. Unfortunately, years of attempts to cure the disease with drops, pills, electromagnetic waves, and other methods have not yet yielded the desired result. Moreover, large corporations involved in the production of such medications are now publicly renouncing them, i.e., they are ceasing to produce cataract drops.
What is the cause? Essentially, protein denaturation is involved in the development of cataracts. We talked about how the lens is made up of protein molecules. During cataract development, these molecules kind of stick together, and the lens loses its transparency. Now let’s imagine that we have invented a drug that can make the turbid egg white (which is basically the analog of the crystalline lens) transparent. It’s like taking a boiled egg and returning it to clarity with drops or pills. So far, it’s unrealistic. So, if you have cataracts, surgery is the only effective treatment these days.
Why should I have cataract surgery?
The main indication for cataract surgery is the inability to perform the work you are used to. Driving a car, flying an airplane, or coping with household. Thus, we can say that cataract surgery is primarily needed because the person’s usual rhythm of life is disturbed and he or she cannot perform his or her duties well such as reading, working on the computer, or driving a car. This is why doctors often do surgery on cataracts in their most initial manifestations.
When is cataract surgery performed?
Unfortunately, our people often wait until the very last moment to have cataract surgery before they completely lose their vision. The crystalline lens in such a neglected state acquires the hardness of a stone. It is very difficult to grind it up, turn it into an emulsion, and wash it out of the eye. All this requires huge time and energy resources. And the patient suffers the most! In fact, he/she basically stays almost blind the whole time. Just imagine, not seeing anything for years, while modern technology can restore vision in a matter of minutes.
Today, there is no need to wait for cataracts to “mature” as it was decades ago. On the contrary, you should have surgery as soon as possible, as recommended by your doctor. This will prevent possible concomitant conditions and will have a favorable effect on the person’s health.
What is the surgical procedure?
What is the essence of cataract surgery? A tiny incision is made in the eye membrane. It rarely exceeds two millimeters. Then the anterior lens capsule is dissected (it is worth adding that the lens consists of an anterior and posterior capsule). The surgeon makes a hole of about five millimeters in diameter in the anterior lens capsule. Using an ultrasound probe, the contents of the crystalline lens are pulverized and removed. Then an artificial crystalline lens is placed through this micro-incision, which allows a person to see well. Cataract surgery lasts from 2 to 15 minutes, depending on the disease stage and its complexity.
Anesthetics drops are used for pain control. Sometimes anesthetics are injected into the eye. Vision is restored almost as soon as the patient gets up from the table. That is, in ten minutes, a person who may have been blind for decades will be able to see immediately.
Surgery for the elderly people
Elderly people may be diagnosed with a cataract along with other conditions that reduce visual acuity and sharpness, and may even lead to blindness. These are conditions such as glaucoma, macular dystrophy, diseases of the retinal central zone, etc. That is why when diagnosing and treating cataracts in elderly patients, doctors always conduct additional examinations to detect all possible visual impairments.
As for age limitation, there are no restrictions for cataract surgery. Our clinic has already operated on patients in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s. Because cataract surgery primarily restores quality of life. Therefore, there is no age limit for cataract surgery.
Moreover, the surgery is performed under local droplet anesthesia. Throughout all manipulations, the anesthesiologist monitors the patient’s state of health. The operation does not affect the cardiovascular system and the body as a whole. Whereas life with a blurred crystalline lens loses all the joys of the surrounding world, and the patient becomes depressed, which first of all affects his/her health.
Noninvasive cataract treatment
Currently, there are no medications that can cure cataracts. The only effective treatment is surgical replacement of the opaque lens with an artificial intraocular lens.
All existing medications, pills, and devices are aimed only at slowing down the development of this condition and improving the supply of microelements to the visual organ.
One of the devices that are used at the initial stage of cataracts is Pankov glasses. What is their purpose? They stimulate the eye through light impulses. Thus, there is an active contraction of the eye muscles, blood supply improves, and the lens receives better nutrition.
What happens if a cataract is not extracted?
If a cataract occurs, surgery is unavoidable. Otherwise, a person may lose his or her vision forever. And here’s why.
When the lens becomes opaque, it swells and grows in size. As a result, the outflow of the intraocular fluid is impeded. This in turn leads to a serious increase in intraocular pressure.
Then secondary glaucoma develops, with the optic nerves gradually dying off, and the person loses the ability to see forever. After all, the optic nerves still can’t be reconstructed. So don’t delay surgery for later, take care of the most precious thing — your eyesight.
What does a patient need on the day of surgery and what is the procedure?
The procedure for preparing and performing cataract surgery is perfectly established and should not be a cause for concern.
Preparation. On the surgery day, a person spends 1.5-2 hours in the clinic, with over an hour of preparation (examination, paperwork, payment, pupil dilation). The surgery itself, as we have already mentioned, takes from 2 to 15 minutes. Then the patient stays in the clinic for half an hour after the surgery to make sure there are no adverse effects.
For instance, reactions to medications that were administered during the surgery are monitored. Then the patient is examined by the doctor and allowed to go home.
Examinations. We usually ask the patient to visit us on the next day after surgery. It takes about 15-30 minutes. We check the visual acuity and, if necessary, carry out the appropriate treatment. After the first day postoperative visit, the patient is invited for another check-up in a week, then in a month.
What does a patient need before surgery?
There is no doubt that a decision on surgery requires a good diagnosis. Unsurprisingly, diagnostics takes much more time than the surgery itself, about 1.5 to 2 hours on average. It is necessary to check visual acuity, measure intraocular pressure, dilate the pupil, and evaluate the condition of the crystalline lens and its ligaments. If possible, be sure to examine the eye ground to select the correct artificial lens, and assess how the vision after surgery will be.
Then, within one or two days, you have to take tests and undergo examinations by related specialists, as well as have a fluorography. These are the requirements of the Ministry of Health in our country. In fact, this is the right thing to do, because people rarely consult a doctor, and concomitant diseases can affect the result of surgery and visual acuity.
Despite the fact that many patients could hardly see even light for a long time, vision returns quickly after surgery. That is, just after the surgery, the patient regains his/her vision right in the operating room. One cannot believe that the surgery took so little time, and that one was scared for nothing, having achieved such an excellent result almost instantly.
If cataract surgery is performed without complications, the probability of developing any problems in the early post-surgery period is extremely low and it depends mostly on the course of basic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, immune disorders, and possible allergic reactions. So, if you have a cataract, surgery is the best choice.
Treatment after surgery is minimal. This includes drops prescribed for a month according to a descending pattern. That is, from the very first day, the patient drops in anti-inflammatory drugs, namely, corticosteroids and antibiotics. Antibiotics are usually administered for a week or two, corticosteroids for a month, gradually reducing the dosage from four times a day to once.
What can’t I do after cataract surgery?
It’s a very important question because Ukraine is an agricultural country, and even those living in cities plant potatoes in spring and dig them up in autumn. That’s why there is a common question: when can I work in the garden or in the field?
Restrictions after cataract surgery are minimal. That is, from the first minutes following cataract surgery, the patient can bend over, cook food, take a shower, drive a car, read, work on the computer. There are several restrictions:
- Do not touch your eyes. We ask the patient not to touch the eye with his hands for the first three days. After this period, the incisions heal and the chance of developing eye problems is minimal.
2. Do not lift weights. We ask for two weeks not to lift more than 20 kg. Most of us have never lifted such weights in our lives, yet we limit the allowed weight to 20 kilograms.
3. Get eye drops. We ask that all medications be administered on time according to the prescribed regimen.
If something goes wrong, whether it is a red eye, pain, vision deterioration, or discharge, each patient has a 24-hour doctor on call, ready to meet him/her at any time of day and night at the clinic and conduct the necessary treatment.
Benefits of our Clinic
For over 20 years, the doctors of Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic located in Kyiv have been safeguarding cataract patients of different age groups.
Reasons to choose our Clinic:
- Our doctors are highly experienced in successful cataract surgeries.
2. We apply only reliable and proven equipment from world manufacturers, as well as lenses from the best ophthalmology firms in Israel, Spain, and the United States.
3. Drop anesthesia is performed by an experienced anesthesiologist.
4. Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic employs the most precise multifunctional ophthalmic surgical systems by Alcon Company for cataract surgery. They allow the most attenuated way to perform complex microsurgeries.
5. The patient can return home on the same day and enjoy all the colors of the world around him.