12 April 2011



The term cataract is used to describe a natural lens which has turned cloudy, usually as part of the natural aging process. Cataracts are not a growth, a film, or a type of cancer. Light cannot pass through a cataract easily, so the retina only receives blurred and distorted images. The retina is then unable to send clear signals to the brain, and vision is gradually impaired. If cataracts are not removed, blindness can eventually result.
Cataracts develop for a number of reasons, but the most common cause is aging. Age-related cataracts develop as a result of natural changes within the lens. In other cases, an injury or blow to the eye may cause a traumatic cataract. Some cataracts may also result from the use of certain drugs, exposure to harmful chemicals or excessive amounts of ultraviolet radiation, or some diseases.
In addition, a small number of babies are born with congenital cataracts as a result of unusual prenatal factors. Very infrequently, cataracts can develop during childhood. Fortunately, almost all cataracts can be successfully removed and vision restored through modern microsurgery.
More Facts about Cataract
1. What is cataract?
Cataract is clouding of natural lens in the eye which is responsible for focusing light and producing clear sharp images. With age, the old cells of the lens die, which accumulate and disrupt/diffuse light resulting in blurred vision.
2. Who is Prone to getting cataracts?
Cataracts are leading cause of vision loss among adults aged 55 years and above. They can also result from hereditary factors, medications or injury in younger age groups or children.
3. What are the symptoms of caracts?
The most common signs of cataract development are blurred of fuzzy vision (Picture) and sensitivity to light. For some people, it makes day-to-day activities like driving and reading difficult. Colours appear dull or faded. Tasks once simple become difficult or impossible to perform.
4. What are the treatment Options?
The only treatment currently available for cataracts is surgery. In cataract surgery the clouded lens (Cataract) is removed leaving a very thin shell or the 'bag' which held the cataract. After surgery the 'bag' will hold the new lens implant.
5. What kind of surgery would I need? How safe is it?
There are two types of surgeries available to you.
The first technique is a conventional Cataract surgery called Extra Capsular Cataract Extraction (ECCE). This involves removing the cloudy lens in one piece and requires a large incision. A rigid IOL is implanted.

The second technique is a Micro-incision Cataract Surgery called Phacoemulsification. In this, a small ultrasound probe is inserted into the Cataract, which is fragmented and sucked (aspirated) out. The procedure requires an incision of only 2.8.-3.0 mm and no stitches! Here a foldable IOL (intra-ocular-lens) is inserted to restore vision.


6.What are the benefits to me from Phaco surgery?
Smaller the wound (incision), faster the healing, early visual rehabilitation and need for spectacles is also minimised after the surgery.
7. How soon after surgery will I be able to see?
In ECCE, it would take about 8 weeks for full recovery of vision. In Phaco, however vision could be restored in a day or two.
8. Will my activities be restricted after surgery?
This depends on your general health and the condition of your eye Most cases resume their active life style within a week.
9.Can I have microsurgery on one eye, if I have previously had a conventional cataract surgery for my other eye?
Yes, without doubt.
10. What are the types of Implant. Are they always accepted by my body?
The lens implant is called Intraocular Lens (IOL). There are two types of IOLs available- rigid and foldable. Rigid IOLs are made of PMMA, a hard Plastic Material, in use since 1949. Foldable IOLs are made of silicone, in use for over 11years. Unlike organ transplants, IOLs are not composed of biological materials. So, there is no question of "rejection" of the IOL by the eye. Moreover, the IOLs are time tested and of proven material.
11. Why should I insist on a Foldable IOL?
To fully reap the advantages of micro incision in a Phaco surgery, you need a foldable IOL, The state-of-the-art Silicone IOLs are folded and inserted into the natural lens bag. There they unfold. They pass through incisions as small as 2.8-3.0 mm. Thus your surgery will be an outpatient procedure! No Pain, No Blood, No Stitch. Only micro incision-foldable IOLs can make it for you!
12. Are they not too costly?
Just compare the disadvantages of traditional surgery, anaesthesia and inability to attend Work / Business for some days, poor vision etc., you will yourself appreciate that the marginal increase in cost of surgery is more than compensated.
13. Will I need glasses after surgery?
Very often, not. You may need to wear glasses only to fine-tune your vision. These are not those "thick spectacles" as in the past.

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