It is difficult to predict the evolution of a Cataract. According to research carried out in the USA and Europe it is possible to deduct that we would all develop cataracts if we lived long enough. THIS IS THE MAIN AVOIDABLE CAUSE OF BLINDNESS WORLDWIDE. Apart from age, there are other causes which contribute to the formation of Cataracts such as ocular trauma, diabetes and certain congenital diseases, exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, eye surgery and certain drugs.
WHICH ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
People affected by Cataracts will see blurred objects, faded or yellowish colors and lights (such as the light from the sun, lamps and cars, etc) surrounded by halos. They will also be obliged to change glasses more frequently.
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
Cataracts are diagnosed by the ophthalmologist who will examine the eye using a microscope and a special lamp. He will examine the front part of the eye (cornea, iris and crystalline) as well as the back segment in order to rule out problems in the retina or the optic nerve.
MAY CATARACTS CAUSE BLINDNESS?
An advanced cataract may result in a clinical picture of “temporary blindness” until surgery is performed on the patient.
WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED TREATMENT FOR CATARACTS?
No medicine, exercise or dietary supplement has proved effective for the treatment of cataracts. The only way to eliminate cataracts is through surgery, introducing an intraocular lens to replace the optic graduation of the operated crystalline.
WHEN SHALL THE SURGERY BE PERFORMED?
The patient is the one who makes the decision when he can no longer perform certain daily tasks important for his life. The old concept of waiting until the cataract is "mature" is nowadays unacceptable.
WHAT IS THE SURGERY LIKE?
The latest surgical technique used is called “PHACOEMULSIFICATION”. This method uses ultrasound. This minimally invasive technique requires of a small incision for the placement of a flexible IOL and of little surgical manipulation, thus offering the following advantages: no pain, fast visual rehabilitation allowing for a quick return to ordinary activities, little ocular inflammation and less post-operative astigmatism. Nowhere in the world is cataract operated with laser.
IS IT PAINFUL?
Phacoemulsification causes no pain, neither before nor after the surgery, provided topical anesthesia (drops) is used. Injections are not used.
WHICH IS THE POST-OPERATIVE CARE RECOMMENDED?
The patient will use an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory collyrium (eyedrops) for approximately 15 days. Special care shall be given to avoid rubbing the eyes during the first days after the surgery. Rest is not necessary but during the first days efforts should be avoided. Return to ordinary activities shall be possible almost immediately after the operation.
WHICH ARE THE RISKS OF THIS TECHNIQUE?
All surgical techniques involve risks, but in this specific case they are few. Phacoemulsification is one of the safest and most precise surgical techniques available nowadays. Post-operative inflammatory and infectious clinical pictures are prevented by using the appropriate collyrium. However, certain eyes may react more intensely than others. In these cases, most complications can be solved during surgery or with subsequent surgeries and/or medication.
The most serious consequence is the DEFINITIVE LOSS OF VISION OF THE OPERATED EYE WITH OR WITHOUT LOSS OF THE EYE. This is extremely infrequent but not impossible. All patients subject to cataract surgery must know that this is possible. Approximately 95% of cataract surgery is performed without problem due to the development of the above mentioned technique.
ARE GLASSES NECESSARY AFTER THE OPERATION?
Patients operated by means of the procedure explained herein before improve their quality of life dramatically. Most of the patients acquire satisfactory medium or long distance vision, but they will require glasses for close vision and most probably a low graduation to be able to see details at a long distance.