Cataract surgery is a significant life event that can seem daunting, particularly if you do not feel informed about the process. To help with your decision making, our team of eye health experts have carefully crafted the Ultimate Guide to Cataract Surgery.  It contains a range of information that will assist you to make an informed choice regarding your treatment and visual options.

We have summarised the guide here on our website, however, you can download the full Guide as a PDF to view at your leisure. Once you have reviewed the guide, we encourage you to contact the KindSIGHT team and set up a time to take the first step towards better vision for life.

WHAT IS A CATARACT?

A cataract is the gradual clouding of the natural or ‘crystalline’ lens inside the eye. This progressively degrades the quality of your vision over time, as if you are trying to look through a ‘dirty window.’

The clouding also causes light scatter, resulting in blurred vision, as well as glare symptoms. Because this is happening inside your eye, it means that eventually, even a new or perfect set of glasses will not be able to sharpen your vision.

Normal Eye compared to Cataract Eye

ARE CATARACTS DANGEROUS?

Rest assured; a cataract is not dangerous or poisonous to the other parts of your eye. In fact, cataracts are common and a normal part of ageing. Much like getting grey hair, some of us will develop cataracts relatively early in life, while others will not be affected until much later.

Usually, cataracts develop in both eyes at around the same rate, so quite often you are not fully aware of how much your vision has slowly deteriorated over time. Occasionally a cataract in one eye may be far more advanced than in the other, and in this case, there is an obvious difference in the vision between your eyes.

WHAT CAUSES CATARACTS?

It is not fully understood why the lens of the eye changes as we mature in age, eventually forming a cataract. Oxidative damage to the lens proteins throughout our lifetime is likely to play a major role.

Other factors thought to contribute to cataract development include:

  • diabetes
  • smoking
  • UV radiation
  • obesity
  • high alcohol consumption
  • family history
  • high myopic error
  • hypertension
  • extended use of corticosteroid medication
  • hormone replacement therapy
  • cholesterol lowering medicine
  • previous eye surgery or injury
MORE INFO in our GUIDE TO CATARACT SURGERY >
Extensive testing undertaken prior to Cataract Surgery

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CATARACTS?

  • Your glasses always seem dirty
  • Small print is harder to read
  • Change in colour vision
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Trouble seeing signs in the distance
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Night driving difficulty due to glare and haloes around traffic/car headlights

WHEN SHOULD YOU HAVE CATARACT SURGERY?

Worldwide, cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgical procedure. In Australia, more than 200,000 cataract procedures are performed every year.

Cataracts can be removed at any stage and you do not have to wait for them to ‘ripen’ before having surgery. Because cataracts will continue to progress over your lifetime, if not treated they will eventually cause blindness.

No matter how mature your cataracts are, it is always ‘possible’ to remove them.

The decision to proceed with cataract surgery ultimately comes down to whether you perceive the benefit of having the operation outweighs the small risk associated with treatment. The cataract eye surgeons at KindSIGHT are only too happy to discuss this in detail with you.

The timing of surgery is different for everyone.

Making the decision to have your cataracts removed usually depends on the following:

  • The degree your sight is affected
  • Your most common daily activities or vision requirements
  • If you only have sight in one eye
  • If you have any other eye disease

Worldwide, cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgical procedure. In Australia, more than 200,000 cataract procedures are performed every year.

Cataracts can be removed at any stage and you do not have to wait for them to ‘ripen’ before having surgery. Because cataracts will continue to progress over your lifetime, if not treated they will eventually cause blindness.

No matter how mature your cataracts are, it is always ‘possible’ to remove them.

The decision to proceed with cataract surgery ultimately comes down to whether you perceive that the benefit of having the operation outweighs the small risk associated with treatment. The eye surgeons at KindSIGHT are only too happy to discuss this in detail with you.

The timing of surgery is different for everyone.

Making the decision to have your cataracts removed usually depends on the following:

  • The degree your sight is affected
  • Your most common daily activities or vision requirements
  • If you only have sight in one eye
  • If you have any other eye disease

GET A VISION OUTCOME TO SUIT YOUR LIFESTYLE

Everybody is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’.

Thanks to advances in technology, including the types of intraocular lens implants (IOLs), advanced micro-incision cataract surgery provides the opportunity to tailor a vision solution that best suits your work and leisure activities to a far greater degree than ever before.

ADVANCED CATARACT SURGERY?

The modern surgical procedure is known as ‘phacoemulsification.’ In brief, this involves removing the cataract using a sophisticated ultrasound probe and replacing it with a clear artificial lens, known as an ‘intraocular lens’ or ‘IOL’ for short.

This procedure aims to provide you with a significant improvement in the clarity, brightness, and sharpness of your vision. It is very important however to understand that cataract surgery will not restore vision that has been lost through other eye diseases, such as macular degeneration or glaucoma.

Over the past decade, there have been significant advances in cataract surgery. In most cases, the operation is performed under ‘twilight anaesthetic’, using only local anaesthetic eye drops (no needles), in a convenient day surgery environment. There is minimal discomfort, no eye pad is required and the recovery is usually rapid. Most patients have ‘driving level vision’ within 1 week.

MORE INFO in our GUIDE TO CATARACT SURGERY >
Patient preparing for Cataract Surgery
Cataract Surgery Procedure Graphic

PHACOEMULSIFICATION

THE SURGICAL PROCEDURE

The operation is microsurgery, meaning it is performed using a high-powered microscope. A small speculum is gently placed in order to keep your eyelids apart throughout the procedure, so don’t be concerned about keeping your eye open and not blinking!

Two small incisions (1.0mm & 2.2mm) are made in the edge of your cornea, then the ‘capsular bag’, which covers the natural lens, is opened to create a circular hole called a ‘capsulorrhexis.’

An ultrasonic or ‘phacoemulsification’ probe is then introduced into the eye through the main corneal incision. It uses sound waves to break the cloudy lens into fragments, which are then small enough to be extracted through the attached suction port (Figure 1).

Once the capsular bag is clear of lens material, the artificial, or intraocular lens is implanted into your eye using a specialised lens injector (See Figure 2). The new lens unfolds inside the empty bag and is held in place with the aid of the IOL haptics (See Figure 3). The tiny 2mm corneal wounds are usually self-sealing, so stitches are rarely needed.

The IOL is approximately one-third the width of the natural lens that was removed, meaning that initially, the capsular bag is somewhat ‘floppy’ immediately after surgery. It takes a month or so for the capsular bag to ‘shrink wrap’ around the artificial lens and hold it firmly in position.

COMBINING LIFESTYLE & VISION OPTIONS

WHAT IS AN INTRAOCULAR LENS (IOL)

An IOL’s will be your new lens!

They are made from a specialised plastic polymer.

A wide variety of IOLs are available, however, they all share the same general design.

Based on your lifestyle we will recommend an IOL that will best suit you. Each lens has different advantages and limitations. These will all be discussed with you n detail prior to surgery to ensure you get the best outcome.

Intraocular Lens - Optic & Haptic

OPTIC: contains the focusing part of the lens

HAPTIC: holds the lens in place within the capsular bag

CATARACT SURGERY

RANGES OF VISION

When thinking about your lifestyle requirements it is helpful to group your daily activities into one three general ‘ranges of vision’:

Near, Intermediate and Distance.

MORE INFO in our GUIDE TO CATARACT SURGERY >