What is a cataract?
To see clearly, all parts of the eye need to function properly. Poor eyesight can be due to a number of reasons, and cataracts may be one of those reasons.
The anatomy of the eye is similar to that of a camera. several parts are responsible for the clarity of the image you actually see, and all need to be working properly.
Within the eye, between the vitreous at the back and the iris, at the front is a crystalline lens which is responsible for 'fine-tuning' our vision, so that images are clear and focused.
Ordinarily, the lens is clear. When the lens loses its clarity and becomes cloudy this is called a cataract.
Some babies are born with cataracts and these are called ' congenital' cataracts. Some medications can cause their formation as can direct trauma to the eye. The most common type, however, are age-related and develop in middle age and later years
Cataracts are not always apparent without the use of diagnostic equipment and unless caused by trauma to the eye, usually form over a number of years.
The cataract above is clearly visible because of its density (advanced stage) and because the pupil has been dilated
What are the symptoms of a cataract?
Over a period of time, images become ' washed out'. Colours are less vibrant and vision becomes more blurred. Some people experience double vision and it is common to experience glare from bright lights, which can cause problems for drivers.
Spectacles cannot correct the problems caused by cataracts, however, for non-drivers whose quality of life is unaffected, an operation may not always be necessary.
Professor Aggarwal will discuss all options with you and will make recommendations in conjunction with your lifestyle.
Patients usually gain enormous benefits from undergoing a cataract procedure. Professor Aggarwal carries out Advanced Refractive Laser Cataract Surgery combining 'Refractive Surgery' with 'Cataract Surgery'. The cataract procedure removes the cloudy lens and the refractive procedure reduces or eliminates astigmatism and then replaces the cloudy lens with a clear multifocal style lens. This reduces or eliminates the need for glasses afterwards to ensure the best possible outcome for his patients.
What is Refractive (Laser) Cataract Surgery?
To improve vision a new clear lens implant replaces the cloudy lens, which has to be removed. It can be removed by making a tiny incision or by the use of laser. In the hands of Professor Aggarwal, both techniques are extremely safe and both give excellent results.
Not so long ago, the aim of cataract surgery was to remove the cloudy lens within the eye and replace it with a clear one. Vision would be much improved (especially if vision was very poor due to the density of the cataract) and glasses would be needed to 'fine-tune' vision for whilst the replacement lens offered clarity it only offered fixed focus, usually set at distance, with glasses being used for near - reading.
For people who prefer to wear glasses for reading, this is still a treatment option.
Refractive Cataract Surgery not only improves clarity, without inducing or increasing astigmatism but it also aims to reduce existing refractive problems such as astigmatism or long/short-sightedness as well as removing the cataract. Specialist surgical techniques and a full range of replacement lens options have produced excellent results for Professor Aggarwal's patients.
Professor Aggarwal uses a range of premium lenses (multifocal, bi-focal, tri-focal and depth of focus implants) to achieve optimal results. Because everyone's requirements are different, a full-length consultation and range of visual assessments are carried out to determine which style of lens or combination of lens and laser treatment will produce the best result. This is sometimes referred to as a 'custom-lens' option.
I have cataracts - do I need to have an operation?
When deciding whether to have an operation, it is necessary to weigh up the benefits of having the procedure against the risks. Unfortunately, once present, cataracts do not go away and usually get worse. An operation is often needed, but when to go ahead really depends on the impact they are having on your life. Cataract surgery is a short procedure (10-20 minutes) with an excellent safety profile and the benefits can be life-changing, but there are always risks with any procedure. Things to consider when deciding whether to proceed might be the impact poor vision is having on your life. Do you feel safe driving, have you stopped driving, playing golf or reading? Are you no longer enjoying hobbies because of poor vision?
Your questions can be answered during a consultation with Professor Aggarwal.
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