Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness in Africa but can be surgically removed, as soon as the vision is influenced. There are many causes for cataracts, including toxins, trauma and age.
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is the lens inside the eye that gets more rigid and less clear with time. The lens is a very important refractive element in the eye, with a huge influence on your vision.
What to expect with cataract surgery?
Cataract Surgery is done under local anaesthesia in most hospitals. It is not necessary for patients to stay over in the hospital after surgery. And in most cases your vision is hugely improved the day after surgery, which makes cataract surgery one of the most successful surgeries to undergo, if not the most successful.
The latest technology used for cataract surgery is through a micro incision and phacoemulsification which is an ultrasound technique. This means that the incision that the surgeon makes is only a 2 millimetres big and does not need stitches in most cases, which means that the patient is much more comfortable after surgery.
After cataract surgery most refractive errors can be eliminated, meaning patients who had to wear glasses before their surgery would in most gases not need glasses after surgery except for reading glasses.
Different refractive errors
People can have different refractive errors which are; far sightedness or hyperopia, these are people who struggle with reading and near vision mostly but in some cases where a patient have got a big refractive error they can also struggle with distance vision.
- If you have near-sightedness or myopia, you cannot see in the distance without glasses or contact lenses.
- Astigmatism is a condition where you struggle with distance and near vision because of the shape or your cornea which is not nice and round.
People older than 40 years of age start to struggle with reading which is called presbyopia (your arms hold reading material further and further away from your eyes!)
Most of these refractive errors can be eliminated after cataract surgery with the latest technology intraocular lenses which are put into the eye by your surgeon when the cataract is removed. Some medical aids (often the higher plans) pay for the more advanced lenses but most of them pay for ordinary distance intraocular lenses (then the patient has to supplement the extra amount that the medical aid does not cover).
You will need in most cases to start treatment with a lid shampoo and antibiotic eye drops before the surgery in order to rid the eyes of any bacteria and minimise the postoperative infection risk.
Complications are rare in the hands of experienced ophthalmologists and most of them are managed successfully.