What is Cataract ?
A : Cataract is the opacification / milkiness of the natural lens of the eye. Due to this opacification , the patient would experience progressive loss of vision . When cataract matures to become absolutely white and opaque , there is total vision loss.
What are the causes of Cataract ?
Cataract is multifactorial in nature . Commonest reason of getting cataract is age. However there is no pre-determined age when cataract may develop. However cataract seems to develop early in people suffering from Diabetes .Other reasons are malnutrition , use of steriod medications , blunt injury and injury with sharp objects. People who are exposed to the sun for pronged periods of time or are welders by profession, may get cataract early . Genetic factors may contribute to getting cataract early on in life too.
Cataract may even develop by birth too , when it is called , congenital cataract .Such cataract may develop due to genetic reasons or due to the effect of radiation , malnutrition during development or due to the intake of certain drugs by the mother during pregnancy. Cataract due to genetic reasons may cause more then one child to be affected in the family.
What is the treatment of cataract ?
Treatment of cataract involves removal of the cataract and implantation of an artificial lens inside the eye.
Cataract surgery iis done by a technique called Phacoemulsification , in which the cataract is dissolved using an ultrasonically vibrating titanium needle through a micro incision and then implantation of an injectable soft foldable lnes inside the eye.Often no stitches are required . Post surgical recovery is usually very quick and the patient is able to see within 2-3 hours after surgery.
Surgery is carried out with the the most modern Alcon Infiniti Torsional phacoemulsification system used all over the world .
Why do we need to implant a lens inside the eye after cataract operation?
Cataract is formed in the natural lens of the eye. Since it has become opaque and had to be taken out , we need to replace that with an artificial lens of pre-calculated power.
What are the types of lenses available for implantation ?
Following are the types of lenses available :
Posterior Chamber Lenses :
# Monofocal Lenses : As the name suggests these lenses have one focus and these lenses are the most commonly used . The aspheric version of this variety of lenses provides the best possible vision to the patient. It is generally planned to implant a lens with a power which would provide un-aided distant vision to the patient as far as possible . The patient would need to use glasses to read and for doing fine work. An example of such lens would be the Alcon Acrysof series of lenses , Eyecryl series of lenses and Supraphob Lenses.
# Multifocal Lenses : Again as the name suggests , these lenses are manufactured on the time tested Acrysof and Eyecryl lens range. Suitability of a patient for this lens has to be determined on an individual basis. Spectacles may be required for fine visual requirements only.
# Toric Lenses : This category of lenses incorporates cylindrical correction in it's optic in addition to spheric correction. This is useful in patients of pre existing irregular cornea , for the reduction / elimination of cylindrical number. Cylindrical numbers in the range of 0.75 D to 4.11 D may be treated with these lenses. This lens is also available in the Acrysof platform and Eyecryl lenses. Patients implanted with these lenses benefit highly in vision. Custom made lenses may be needed for some patients in which the readily available lenses may not be enough to correct their eye condition.
# Aspheric Multifocal + Toric Lenses : These lenses combine the properties of all the above mentioned lenses and are helpful is specific clinical situtations and specific visual requirements.
Iris Supported Lenses :
Artisan Lens : This is a very special design of lens which has very specific indications. In the broader sense, it is implanted in patients with deficient or absent posterior capsule in which the afore mentioned lenses cannot be implanted. This lens is fixed to the brown iris of the eye with small clips on either side of the lens. Implantation can be doen on the front or the back of the iris. This lens may need to be implanted in patients with dislocated lenses , cases of trauma , post vitreo-retinal surgery , as secondary lens implants etc etc.
You need to discuss with the doctor which lens type would be suitable for you.