There is a common misconception that cataract is a disease that is specific to the elderly. Although it is highly prevalent among people around the age of 65 and above, the incidence of childhood and congenital cataract occurs in the range of 1.8 to 3.6/10000 per year.
On a global level, 40% of the people diagnosed with cataracts have to undergo a surgical treatment for both eyes. This includes people of all age groups.
However, the good thing about cataract surgeries is that there is no upper age limit for the surgery. Even if the patient is above the age of 90, the surgery can be successful as long as he or she is healthy.
Even so, many people shy away from a surgical treatment worrying about possible complications. What they need to understand is that cataract surgery, like any other surgery, is not a ‘one-method-fits-all’. There are a few different types of cataract surgeries that may be well suited for individual cases. Here, we will be discussing the various kinds of cataract treatments and aftercare steps required for fast recovery.
Cataracts: Understanding the basics
Cataracts are a condition where the normal clear lens of the eye is clouded up when the tissues within the lens break down and clump together. People with cataracts feel like they are looking through a fogged-up window, which makes it difficult for them to read, watch a movie or drive a car.
Cataract formation is very gradual and takes years to develop. But with time, it can lead to impaired vision and blindness.
There are different types of cataracts, according to which the treatments may also differ. For instance, nuclear cataracts are one of the most common types of cataracts, where the clumping occurs nearer to the center of the eye. In this case, the patient will suffer from some nearsightedness initially, which gradually leads to foggy vision as the cataracts progress.
Cortical cataracts start at around the edges of the cornea as wedge-shaped foggings and move towards the middle of the eye, interfering with vision. On the other hand, a posterior subcapsular cataract will interfere with your reading vision, reduces your vision in bright light and causes a glare or halo around lights at night as it is formed in the path of the light, near the back of the lens.
Congenital cataracts is the prevalence of the condition from the time of birth or during early childhood. This is often due to genetics, trauma or intrauterine infections that occur during pregnancy.
Risk factors like increasing age, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, drinking and eye injuries can lead to the development of cataract at any age. While it is impossible to completely avoid its prevalence, people with the said risk factors can monitor their eye health and follow a healthy lifestyle to delay or decrease its progression.
Treatment for cataracts
Once a patient is diagnosed with cataracts, the surgeon will discuss the possible treatment plans that could help him or her regain the vision. If you have been recently diagnosed with cataracts, our surgeon may recommend any one of the three different cataract surgery options mentioned below:
Ultra Cataract Treatment
At our eye clinic in Dubai, patients are recommended to the Ultra Cataract Treatment depending upon their condition. In this treatment, our highly-qualified surgeon uses a laser to soften the cataract and break it up for easy removal. The procedure lasts up to 15 minutes for each eye and is highly accurate in removing the clouding. This is mostly an outpatient procedure and the patient may be allowed to go home post the procedure.
With the right aftercare, clearer vision will be restored within the first 2 days of the surgery.
Ultra Phaco Cataract Treatment
The Ultra Phaco Cataract Treatment is the best alternative for vision correction due to cataract. Also known as ‘stitchless surgery’, the procedure is quite painless. During the cataract surgery, the hard cataract is broken by ultrasound power and is sucked out through an incision that is approximately 1.5mm to 2.8mm. Once the cataract is removed, a foldable lens is placed inside the eye through incision. Once the lens is in place, it unfolds to 6mm. The procedure normally lasts up to 8 minutes.
The incision made during the surgery is very small and will take little to no time to heal.
Even though this is a very safe and sought after procedure, Phacoemulsification is available in very few eye clinics in Dubai. The procedure takes a maximum of 30 minutes where the cataract is carefully removed to ensure that the lens is restored to its usual crystalline state.
Extracapsular and Intracapsular cataract extractions
These are two of the age-old procedures practiced by eye surgeons all around the world for cataract removal. Although technology has improved since their discovery, our cataract surgeons may still recommend them to patients depending upon the age and other risk factors that prevent them from opting for alternate methods.
Extracapsular cataract extraction is a procedure where the lens of the eye is removed while the elastic capsule covering the lens is left partially intact, allowing the implantation of an intraocular lens. On the other hand, the Intracapsular cataract extraction requires the complete removal of the natural eye lens from its capsule, after which it is eye aphakic (without lens) and left like that. Exterior glasses or contact lenses are prescribed by our cataract surgeon to restore the patient’s vision in this case.
Aftercare for cataract surgery
Cataract surgery is considered to be one of the most common and safest eye surgeries in the world. Approximately 10 million cataract surgeries are performed all around the world where most people enjoy excellent results post procedure. Past studies tell us that almost 96% of the patients who were devoid of any other issues achieve a minimum of 20/40 uncorrected distance visual acuity after their cataract surgery. This is considered good enough to legally be able to drive without eyeglasses or contact lenses.
At the same time, 90% of all patients with pre-existing eye conditions other than cataracts also received good outcomes. While complications are very rare, sight-threatening conditions such as endophthalmitis may require subsequent treatments and surgeries to restore good eyesight.
To ensure that the recovery is fast and devoid of complications, here are 7 steps to follow post your cataract surgery:
- Avoid driving on the first day after the surgery. On the day of the surgery and up to 2 days after that, it is better to have someone drive you around.
- Don’t do heavy lifting or strenuous activities for a few weeks after the surgery.
- Don’t bend over too much right after the surgery as it puts extra pressure on your eye.
- Try not to sneeze or vomit right after the surgery. If you have any difficulties that may lead to those actions, take necessary medical precautions.
- Avoid swimming or using a hot tub during the first week of your cataract surgery recovery to reduce the chance of infection.
- Protect your eyes from irritants like dust, dirt and pollen during the first few weeks post surgery.
- Keep your eyes safe from any kind of potential injuries including bumping into objects or doors. Also, avoid rubbing your eye during the recovery period.
Cataract is a condition that can occur to anyone at any age. If you are an individual who is under the risk of contracting the disease, take necessary steps to care for your eyes right from the start. If you suffer from clouded vision, visit our eye clinic in Dubai at the earliest for a comprehensive eye check-up. And if diagnosed, talk to our cataract surgeon to know which treatment is the best for your case and take necessary steps to regain your vision without delay.