Cataract is an age-related eye condition that is the main cause of blindness in the Philippines which affect people mostly in the older age-group and more prevalent among women compared to men.
The clouds formed in the lens causes the vision to be blurry and hazy, just like looking through a foggy glass.
In the country, cataract tops the leading cause of blindness with 62% of the total percentage. It is a serious visual problem that, if not prevented nor treated by surgery early, may cause permanent vision loss.
The lens is an integral part of the eye as it helps it in focusing light, and/or image, on the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Light passes through the transparent lens to the retina in a typical eye.
Once the retina is reached, light is then changed to nerve signals that are sent to the brain.
For the retina to receive a sharp and precise image, the lens must be clear. The lens can be cloudy due to cataract thus, the image seen will be blurred. Hence, it is that important to address cataract the soonest and have it removed to restore a bright vision.
Here are some of the factors that may contribute to the progression of cataract:
– Direct eye exposure to sunlight
– Metabolic and heart diseases: Diabetes, Obesity and Hypertension
– Negative lifestyle: Smoking and Heavy alcohol consumption
– External factors: Eye injuries
Cataract gradually develops when there is a protein build-up in the eye. With these protein blocking the light path in the eye, it hinders the patient from seeing clearly and may even cause blindness if left untreated. Generally, it develops in both eyes but each eye may advance differently.
A. Nuclear Cataract- commonly associated with aging
B. Congenital Cataract – cases where infants are born with cataract due to infection or inadequate womb development
C. Posterior Subcapsular Cataract – progresses the fastest where the back of the lens is blocked, directly affecting the light path of the eye
D. Cortical Cataract – occurs in an inward motion, where opacities start at the edge slowly making its way to the center
For cataract, having surgery to address it is medically the ONLY effective treatment. Undergoing surgery will enable removing of the cloudy lens and replacing it with artificial lens that is bound to restore clear vision.
A cataract needs to be removes as it causes vision loss that interferes with everyday activities, such as driving, physical exercises, reading, browsing and watching TV, to name a few.
Through a series of tests along with consultation from the ophthalmologist, further details about the surgery will then be thoroughly discussed. Once the benefits and risks of the surgery are fully understood, it will then be realized that cataract surgery is necessary to regain a clear vision.
Cataract surgery/removal is one of the most common operations performed in the world and in the Philippines. As proven by cases and studies, it is likewise one of the safest and most effective types of surgery as medical studies show that 90 percent of cases, people who undergo cataract surgery have regained better vision right after.
At Shinagawa, we ensure the best possible procedure we can provide as we are well-equipped with the most advanced instruments and some of the most renowned doctors and eye surgeons in the country that specialize in cataract surgery.
What is usually the most preferred and advised Intraocular Lens (IOL) for cataract surgery?
While multifocal, monofocal and toric lenses have their pros and cons and all serve their purposes well, the most recommended and preferred lens is multi-focal.
Multifocal IOLs are tiered lenses that enable patients to see clearly at both near and far distances.
Contrary to monofocal and toric lenses wherein a patient is still required to wear eyeglasses, multifocal enables patients to not rely on spectacles.
Multifocal IOLs are designed to allow clearer sight at near, intermediate and far distances. They are made up of concentric rings of varying optical power, each of which refracts, or bends incoming light, bringing it into focus at different points simultaneously.
Multifocal lenses are also used to correct presbyopia, an age-related condition in which patients tend to lose their ability of focusing clearly on objects within close range.
Through the multifocal lens, presbyopia is corrected, thus, making it possible for one to be spectacle free in most visual requirements such as distance and reading.
In short, multifocal lenses are much preferred as the majority who receive them are way less dependent on spectacles and designed to give clear distance, intermediate and near vision.
For further reference, here are the respective features of the different lenses:
Vision is typically in focus at only one distance, near, intermediate or far, with monofocal lenses.
Toric lenses are used in patients who have more than 1 diopter of astigmatism. These IOL’s may be either monofocal or multifocal.
Also, toric lenses are considered premium intraocular lenses that aside from correcting astigmatism, also corrects nearsightedness and farsightedness. When toric IOLs are implanted in the cataract procedure, they are rotated so the markings on the IOL are aligned with the ones on the cornea to assure proper astigmatism correction.
Normally present for steps but can be used for FAQ or lists
- When are you most likely to have a cataract?
Most people start to have cataract upon reaching around 60 years old and above as it is normally age-related. However, that’s not the only case. One doesn’t have to be senior citizen to have cataract. Younger people can also have cataract however, those cases are small and doesn’t affect vision that much. It is after the age of 60 where cataract becomes problematic for a one’s vision.
- Am I a good candidate for Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery?
Not all cataract patients can undergo the laser-assisted surgery. It is better to consult with the ophthalmologist to know whether the method suited for the patient is the traditional treatment or the laser-assisted surgery.
- Can I have both of my eyes operated at the same day?
Generally, the surgery is performed on one eye first and after a few weeks of recovery, the surgeon will proceed on operating the second eye.
- What to prepare before the operation?
Just like any other surgery, this operation also requires well-detailed planning. The ophthalmologist will assess the anterior and posterior parts of the eye. Doctors may advise patients to temporarily discontinue medication intake as some drugs may interfere with the operation. Other instructions must be followed to ensure the best surgical outcome.
- Do cataracts come back after surgery?
Some patients have fear that cataract might recur in the future despite the surgery. In most cases, cataracts don’t normally recur after surgery. The good thing about artificial lenses is that they don’t normally form cataracts, limiting the chance of having another cataract at a very minimal percentage.
However, there are still some cases wherein small percentage of patients who had cataract surgery experienced blurry vision once more as the posterior lens capsule becomes cloudy months or years after the procedure. This is called the posterior capsular opacification (PCO).
Still, vision lost from this can instantly be treated and restored through another procedure called a YAG laser capsulotomy. This procedure uses a specialized laser to create a clear path in the posterior lens capsule. This quickly restores visual acuity and it only takes a few minutes for this to be done and at the same time, it typically never needs any repetition.
- Does a cataract need to be fully ripe for it to be removed?
It actually doesn’t need to. The earlier, the better. Even if it is still in its earliest stage and form, once the cataract is evident and significant enough to interfere in one’s everyday activities, it can already be removed and cataract surgery is already advisable.
- What happens when a cataract is left untreated?
As proven in most cases, if left untreated, cataracts are bound to worsen over time, causing gradual deterioration of vision. Many of which become blind from unattended and untreated cataracts. The same can be said if cataract is left untreated for a long period that’s why it’s advisable to address it the soonest to avoid such instances.
- What should I expect during the procedure?
Using the most up-to-date technology available, patients can expect an accurate, bladeless and painless procedure. Expert Ophthalmologist will perform the surgery using the data gathered during the eye imaging step. Uncomplicated cataract surgeries take around 20-30 minutes (per eye) and patients may feel slight pressure during the whole process.
- What should I expect after the procedure?
Recovery time is fast and there is no need for the patient to stay at the clinic. Generally, they are advised to go home 30 minutes after the operation, given that they are assisted by their companion.
Clearer vision can be noticed within 24 hours although the patient may still feel mild discomfort and sensitivity to light. Patient may also notice eye redness during the healing process but it will dissipate quickly after several days.
Few hours after the surgery, patient should be able to do simple tasks:
-Light TV Watching
-Using of gadgets such as computer and mobile phones for a limited time
-Showering; although patient must, be wary of the products/chemicals that may get in the eye
To speed -up the recovery process, the patient should:
-Administer the prescribed medications to prevent infections-Avoid doing waters sports or swimming during the first month
-Always wear your protective glasses to avoid exposing your eyes to irritants such as dust
-Avoid doing strenuous activities or sports for several weeks
-Women should avoid putting cosmetics (especially eye products such as eyeshadows, eyeliners and mascara) during the first week
- Are there any complications after the surgery?
Even if the surgery had a successful outcome, certain complications may still occur if the patient disregards the proper post-operational care.
Vision-threatening complications such as endophthalmitis or interior eye inflammation from eye surgery may occur. Another is posterior capsular opacification in which haziness may develop behind the implanted the IOL.
The patient does not have to worry because such complications can be easily treated, in most cases by administering eye drops.
- Do I have to come back to the clinic for checkups?
Yes. Regular checkup schedules are as follows: Following day after surgery, 3 days after, 1 week after, 1 month after, 3 months after, 6 months after, and a year after. Patients are encouraged to attend annual eye checkups to ensure optimum eye health.
If irritations or any unusual conditions occur, patient must immediately have their eyes checked.
- Will I still wear eyeglasses after the operation?
After the cataract operation, some patients may still need to wear reading glasses to read fine print especially on low light.
Talk to us. Our team of experts would be glad to assist you.