What is Cataract?
In our eyes, there is a crystalline lens which helps us focus for far and near like the lens in a camera. With age, the lens hardens, becomes less flexible and loses its ability to focus for near. The first sign of a cataract is presbyopia or “Lao Hua, 老花”. Only later on, will the cataract will cause glare and blurring of vision.
When should I have my cataract treated?
The time to consider the treatment is when it affects your quality of life. It’s not about how “hard or ripe” the cataract is. Most of our patients take this golden opportunity to correct myopia (short-sightedness), long-sightedness, presbyopia (“Lao Hua”) and astigmatism. In The EyeClinic by Dr Cheryl Lee, the aim is to help you to be spectacle free for far and near, a fantastic new lease of life.
Is cataract surgery really life changing?
Our patients say that colours look more beautiful. What they love is the convenience of not having to wear glasses for far, computer and reading. Many are happy with how much younger they look without the reading glasses! The outcome is not determined by the surgery but by the correct choice of lens implant. Experience has taught us how to choose the correct multifocal lens for each patient that would suit your wants and needs.. Some multifocal lenses cause glare and haloes and would be inappropriate for those who drive at night. Some lenses are really good for patients who like needle work or reading in Chinese. Refractive multifocal lenses cause minimal sight disturbances and are different from diffractive multifocal lenses. We would discuss a lot more when we meet.
“Multifocal lenses are like cars. There are SUVs and cabriolets and every model in between. We need to discuss which one is best suited to you.”
What is important for you to have a good outcome?
- Dry eyes. This need to be assessed pre-operatively (with Tear lab Osmolarity System) and treated adequately before surgery as dry eyes can impact significantly the lens power chosen to be implanted and astigmatism correction.It also affects how your eyes feel and look after surgery.
- Experience of the doctor and specialist optometrist in helping you choose the correct lens suitable for your lifestyle
- Up-to-date machines for lens power measurement
- Surgical experience of the doctor
How is Cataract treated?
Neither eye drops nor oral medications can cure cataract. Cataract surgery is the only effective treatment that improves the vision of the patients with cataract. It involves removal of the cloudy natural lens in the eye and replacing it with a clear artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL).This is the most common surgery performed in the world and lens implants have been in existence since the 1960s.
The surgery takes about 10 minutes and we expect you to see well enough to watch TV and read on your iPad on the same day.
You are allowed to do light exercise such as brisk-walking within the first 2 weeks after your cataract surgery. Running, weightlifting, swimming and other water sports are best to be started after 1 month. Do not expose your eyes to any risk of trauma within the first month.
No. The reason for the change in the glasses prescription is mainly because of worsening of the cataract. Once the cataract is removed, it will not recur hence your prescription remains stable.
Not all eyes that have undergone LASIK will be suitable for multifocal IOLs. LASIK changes the shape and thickness of the cornea and it also causes dry eyes. LASIK has permanently reformed your cornea so post-LASIK eye needs to be evaluated carefully.
Yes, you can. There are now multifocal add-on lenses that we can insert on top of your existing monofocal IOLs. This option can likely maintain or improve your far vision and at the same time decrease your dependence on glasses when you read.
No. With the IOL, your brain will learn to adjust the focus by a reflex change in the size of the pupil.
You will experience greater overall freedom allowing you to participate in most daily activities without dependence glasses.
The IOL is intended to remain in place indefinitely without any maintenance. You can indulge in activities like diving, facials, high impact sports and taking airplanes with peace of mind.
No. As cataract is the opacification of the natural lens in the eye, it cannot recur once the lens is being removed. If your vision becomes cloudy again after cataract surgery, you may have developed a condition called posterior capsule opacifiation (PCO) or secondary cataract. This occurs when the back of the lens capsule (part of the lens that was not removed during surgery and now supports the lens implant) becomes cloudy due to thickening of capsule or deposits.
PCO is treated with a fast and painless outpatient procedure called yttrium-aluminum-garnet (YAG) laser capsulotomy. In this procedure, a laser beam is used to remove the hazy posterior capsule from your line of sight. This allows the surgery to be performed without any incision and patients may go home after surgery without any dressing.