Hello dear readers, today we are discussing a very important subject. We are fixing the misconceptions, answering the most frequent questions around cataract eye surgery and giving you some statistics around this issue. Why is this so important? Because you need to see the truth (pun intended). Cataract Surgery is a life saver, most people are aware, it can dramatically change someone’s life for better. However, not everybody fully understands the procedure of a cataract eye surgery. Fortunately, you found this article. Let’s begin.
What is the Risk of Cataracts?
Glad you ask, according to the NEI (National Eye Institute) the risk of cataract increases with each decade of life starting around age 40. Statistics show us that by age 75 half of white Americans have cataract. Furthermore, by age 80, 70% of white population have cataract compared with 53% of black community and 61% of Hispanic Americans. (see table below, taken from National Eye Institute).
Cataract is more common among females, in fact, women are 20% more likely to contract the disease. (see table below, also taken from NEI.
Do They Give Anesthesia for Cataract Surgery?
It depends on the case. Anesthesia is very specific to which situation and only the doctor will be able to know which procedure best fits the patient’s condition. Before the surgery, a medicinal history and physical examination must be conducted to make sure the patient is adequate for anesthesia. That being said, it is important to match the form of anesthesia to the requirements of the surgery and the needs of that patient. Options are:
- a) topical anesthesia, in which numbing eye liquid is dropped on the surface of eye.
- b) local anesthesia, only the eye and the surface around it is anesthetized.
- c) general anesthesia, patient is put to sleep.
When Should a Patient Undergo Cataract Surgery?
Again, this is something only the doctor will be able to fully answer. However, the general advice is: whenever the symptoms start affecting your daily life.
What are the Most Common Symptoms of Cataracts?
- Vision becomes blurry and clouded.
- Hard to see at night.
- Sensitivity to light and glare.
- Difficulty seeing colors.
- Seeing halos and star-bursts when looking at bright lights.
Note: There are other (not so common) symptoms of cataracts, if you are suspicious that your vision is not functioning 100%, visit your doctor. Every case is a different case.
What are the Most Common (Positive) Symptoms after Cataract Surgery?
- Overall vision becomes clearer and sharper.
- Night vision improves.
- Colors become sharper.
Note: It depends on how advanced the cataracts are, the patient’s age and of course how well the surgery performs.
What are the Most Common Side Effects of Cataract Surgery?
- Dry eyes.
- Temporary problems with glare.
Note: There are not big side effects for this type of eye surgery, at least not commonly, however, ask your doctor. Every case is a different case.
What is it Like to Have Cataract Removal Surgery?
This is the big question, what is the overall experience of someone going through this type of eye surgery. First of all, it is important to understand the two different stages of the procedure. Firstly, with the help of a femtosecond laser (a recent and very effective technology) the surgeon will create cleavage planes via photodisruption in transparent/translucent tissues (in other words, it will make small cuts/wounds). Secondly, the surgeon will go through those wounds made by the femtosecond laser and divide and suck the cataract fragments out, finally he will implant the lens implant into the eye.
The experience depends largely on what type of laser the surgeon uses.
1st stage of procedure– More common lasers (Lensx) will give a strong sensation of pressure on the eye, around the cornea, consequently patient’s vision may go dark for a short period of time. Other lasers, such as Catalys, the feeling of pressure is not as strong, therefore more comfortable. It is not common for patients to feel any kind of sharp pain or extreme discomfort, however, it may occur.
2nd stage of procedure– Patient’s face will be covered, and the eye will be opened with a speculum. It will most likely feel a bit constricted and ‘stretchy’ at first, but that feeling will soon fade. Patient may see some lights, shadows and rainbow-like figures throughout the procedure.
Overall, it is a fairly quick intervention and there isn’t a big deal of discomfort. Everything will happen much quicker than the average patient expects it to be. The toughest part may be the right at the beginning, during the first stage of the surgery. However, it all depends on the laser, the type of anesthesia, the skill of the doctor and of course the cataracts itself.
Share Your Experience
Have you gone through this procedure? Have you performed the procedure? Either if you are a patient, former patient, or even a doctor, let us know your story in the comment section below. It is important to discuss and debate these types of subjects. Do you have a question? Just ask! Also, don’t forget to bookmark our page and share this article with any of your friends who might be interested in this subject. Perhaps you know someone who is about to go through this surgery. Share the knowledge, share the experience! Have a great day and take care of yourself and the ones you love.