A Complete Guide to the symptoms, types, complications and cataract surgery treatment

Medpho Team April 27, 2023

cataract surgery Symptoms

Cataract surgery is an eye surgery done to remove the cataract (cloudy lens). The human eye is like a camera and has a lens for focusing light. This lens is usually apparent, but when it turns cloudy, it's called a "cataract."

Cataract surgery is the best option to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear artificial lens, which helps restore vision. Cataract surgery involves the removal of the faulty lens in the eyes and replacing it with an artificial lens in most pursuits. It is the most widely used treatment in the healthcare sector, with immediate improvements in visual acuity and a reduced mortality rate.

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is an eye condition leading to the cloudiness of a clear eye lens, which eventually affects your vision. An ophthalmologist carries out a cataract operation. In many events, the patient is not required to stay back in the hospital post-surgery, i.e. you get it done on an outpatient basis.

The normal functioning of the eyes involves the light passing through a clear lens on the eye. The lens concentrates the light so the brain and eye can process details into an image. When the lens becomes dirty, the eye can't focus light, and you can have blurry vision.

Why is cataract surgery required? 

To get your cataract problem treated, you need to undergo such surgery. Since cataracts can impose a blurry vision and turn your eyesight sensitive to light glare, making your daily-life activities problematic, during such conditions, the doctor advises cataract surgery.

Another possible scenario where cataract surgery is suggested is when there is an eye problem, like age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular oedema, and other common eye diseases.

Optometrists fail to comprehensively examine the back of the eye due to a clouded eye lens in all the above conditions.

What is the correct time to have cataract surgery?

The right time to get your cataract surgery done is when you face difficulty 

  • The person who cannot drive to work or at night is affected by cataracts.
  •  In carrying out your daily or occupational activities.
  • When reading or watching television, becoming cumbersome for you due to cataracts.
  • You have issues with cooking, shopping, yard work, taking medications or climbing stairs.
  • You have difficulty noticing under bright lights.
  • Your independence is getting disturbed after having cataracts.

cataract surgery

Do you know about cataract surgery symptoms?

The cataract develops as you age and tends to worsen over time slowly. The early phases of lens changes don't generate significant visual impairment and don't need surgery. Mostly the doctor will suggest surgery when your cataracts noticeably impact your vision. The signs of cataract surgery include

  • blurry vision
  • impaired night vision
  • colours appearing faded
  • sensitivity to glare and bright lights
  • halos around lights
  • double vision

What are the cataract surgery types?

There are multiple forms of cataract removal once your eye doctor advises you to take up the surgery. So, let's have a look at them:

  • Phacoemulsification
  • Extracapsular Cataract Surgery
  • Intracapsular cataract surgery

 'Phaco' is the most common technique to go for a cataract removal procedure. Generally, the time taken is from half an hour to forty minutes to remove a cataract through phacoemulsification. 

The process also requires minimal sedation, i.e. local anaesthesia (injecting anaesthesia around the eye) or topical anaesthesia (administering numbing drops into the eye).

This cataract surgery needs a small surgical incision around the periphery of the cornea, and it's done by making an opening through the membrane surrounding the lens.

A small ultrasonic probe into the space breaks up the cloudy lens into tiny fragments using sound waves, which act as a tiny jackhammer.

An extension is utilised to suction the broken-down cataract fragments. After the lens particles are removed, an intraocular lens is implanted, also called an IOL.

The ophthalmic surgeon uses a hollowed-out tube to insert the IOL through a tiny corneal incision.

Extracapsular cataract surgery: 
Extracapsular cataract surgery is considered highly advanced, wherein phacoemulsification is impossible for various reasons.

This cataract removal technique requires a slightly larger incision, so the cataract can be removed in one part instead of being fragmented within the eye. 

Like phacoemulsification, an artificial lens (IOL) is positioned inside the same capsular bag. The larger wound requires several stitches to be closed, which slows the healing process for the injury and the visual surgery.

The numbing agent is delivered by injection around the eye for cataract removal. After this form of surgery, an eye patch is also necessary.

Intracapsular cataract surgery: 
This cataract removal method may still be useful in some situations, despite its rarity nowadays. Compared to extracapsular surgery, where the entire lens and its surrounding capsule are removed, it necessitates a bigger incision.

In addition, the IOL (intraocular lens) is positioned differently in front of the iris during this surgical surgery.

Possible cataract surgery complications

In 2020, Havard Health Publishing reported that through phacoemulsification, 97% to 98% of all cataract cases carried out by experienced surgeons were successful.

Since every single person with a cataract can have varied health conditions, your ophthalmologist is supposed to discuss the specific potential intricacies of the cataract procedure most feasible for you, requiring your signatures on a consent form.

The most commonly occurring cataract surgery complications include persistent inflammation, ocular hypertension, cystoid macular oedema (a condition where the retina at the back of the eye is swollen) and retinal detachment.

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