Cataracts are an ocular condition which sees changes in the lens part of the eye that cause it to become transparent. When this happens, the patient experiences vision that is cloudy or misted. Cataracts develop over a number of years, meaning that they usually diagnosed in people who are significantly older.
However, there are some instances when cataracts are found in younger people and this is the reason why an optometrist will assess the health of your eyes as well as your eyesight when you go for your routine eye examination.
In addition to cloudy or misted vision, there are a few more ways in which cataracts affects your ability to see. Symptoms to be aware of include:
A yellow or brownish tinge to your vision
Colors appear to be muted, faded or less acute
Difficulty seeing in very bright or dim light
Increased glare from bright lights
The appearance of a ‘halo’ of light circling actual lights
Your glasses or contacts don’t seem to be as effective
Cataracts are not painful, and your eyes will look perfectly normal. They also don’t necessarily affect both eyes at the same time. If you receive a diagnosis of cataracts in just one of your eyes, research suggests that you have a higher chance of developing the condition in the other eye too.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of cataracts, then you should make an appointment with our eye specialist for a total ocular health check.
Thanks to advances in modern optometry, there is now an alternative to traditional cataracts surgery which, although safe, is quite complex.
Laser cataracts surgery uses the same technology as LASIK. The high-intensity laser is used in place of hand held tools which offers pinpoint precision and accuracy, improving the overall result, eradicating the inevitable margin of human error and significantly reducing the risks of something going wrong. Lasers are also completely sterile which reduces the risk of infection in the days after your procedure.
Part of the reason that laser cataract surgery is so effective is because of technological developments that allow your surgeon to create a topographical map of your eye (known as optical coherence topography or OCT), so that he can pinpoint exactly where and how large the cataracts are.
As well as being used to create a microscopic incision, the laser can then be programmed to follow this map so that it can focus directly on the cataracts without disturbing other parts of the eye. The laser itself breaks the cataracts up into fragments and allow for insertion of the intraocular lens to restore the patients vision.
Laser cataracts surgery is almost always performed after a local anesthetic has been applied – usually in the form of numbing eye drops – and so discomfort should be minimal.
Some people find that their eyes feel sore or scratchy for a few days after treatment, but this usually abates very quickly. If you have any concerns about pain during your treatment, speak to your surgeon who will be able to put your mind at rest.
You should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and you may find that your vision is a little blurry for a day or two. Your eyes could feel a little sore, itchy or gritty but you should avoid touching them as this can increase your risk of infection. You should also avoid make-up or getting anything in your eye, including water. However, after three or four days your eye should start to feel normal and your vision should have significantly improved.
If you have any concerns after your procedure you should speak to your surgeon’s office to get specific information based on your personal circumstances.
The exact cost of your laser cataract surgery will vary depending on the surgeon that you use. Although it is more expensive than traditional cataracts surgery, most patients agree that the benefits far outweigh the costs involved.
There are many different payment plans available that will help you to cover the cost of laser cataract surgery. Make sure you shop around to find the best rate and deal for you before you commit to your surgery.
If you are interested in finding out more about laser cataract surgery, contact us and make an appointment with our eye specialist who will be happy to talk through your options with you.