Cataract (Translate 白内障)
What is a cataract?
A cataract refers to the clouding of the normally clear lens that is situated behind the pupil (dark centre) of the eye. The clouding of lens obscures and scatters light that normally focuses sharply on the retina, causes reduction of vision. A cataract usually occurs as a natural consequence of ageing but can happen earlier in life if there is a family tendency for this or if there has been an injury or previous surgery to the eye.
How do I know if I need cataract surgery?
When to have surgery is a decision that you should make, based on how well you are able to see and how much the cataract(s) interferes with your daily life. You might be able to drive, watch television and work at a computer for quite a few years after cataracts are first diagnosed. Eventually though you may start to notice “ghost” images, glare and worsening visual clarity which cannot be corrected with glasses, and colours may also start to look faded. If you feel that your sight is impaired significantly and it becomes difficult for you to perform your normal daily activities, it may be time for cataract surgery.
What does cataract surgery involve?
Cataract surgery is usually performed as an out-patient basis under local anaesthetic. Since you will be unable to drive after your surgery, it is important that you arrange your own transport on the day of the surgery.
The surgery involves removing the cataract (cloudy lens) through a small incision (cut) and replacing it with a clear acrylic lens implant. The lens implant stays in place throughout your life and does not require replacement. The operation takes 10-20 minutes. Usually the incision is so small that it does not even require stitches.
Cataract surgery under local anaesthetic is not painful although you may feel a sensation of pressure in the eye at some stages during the operation. A sterile cover will be placed over your face and the other eye to keep the area clean, but it will be kept clear from your nose and mouth by a stand with circulates fresh air. Your eye will be kept open using a special instrument, so you don’t have to worry about keeping the eye open yourself. It is important that you don’t move suddenly during the operation. The bright microscope light prevents you from seeing what is going on and many patients see whorls of blue or purple light during the operation. The surgeon will discuss the way to communicate with him/her: you may choose to hold a nurse’s hand which you can squeeze if you need to communicate with the surgeon. If you feel you need to cough or sneeze you can tell us this, but take care not to move your head until the surgeon says it is safe to do so.
When is it safe for me to drive after my cataract surgery?
This depends on a number of factors including the vision in your other eye. It is best to ask the surgeon when you see them before the operation since he/she will be able to answer the question based on your personal circumstances.
Will I have to wear glasses after my operation?
In most cases the artificial lens implant is chosen to give good distance vision but it is fairly common for thin glasses to be required to fine-tune this. Glasses will definitely be required for reading following the procedure. You should visit your optometrist to get new glasses about four to six weeks after cataract surgery.
If you do not want to wear glasses after cataract surgery your eye surgeon can discuss various options with you. These include multifocal or extended range lens or monovision.
Things to look out for after operation
Do not rub or put pressure on the eye.
To clean your eye lids, clean gently with a clean moist face washer while keeping your eyes closed.
Do not get soap or water into your eye.
Do not shampoo your hair for one week.
Wear sun glasses outside, preferably with side shields.
Avoid dusty areas.
Sleep with the plastic shield taped in place for one week. Try not to sleep on the operated side.
Do not drive for one week.
Do not vacuum the house for 2 weeks after the surgery.
No swimming or hydrotherapy for 4 weeks after surgery.
Avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for 4 weeks.
Please bring your eye drops with you to all your post operative appointments.