Cataract Surgery

Lens implant surgery (cataract surgery) is necessary for people with cataract and is the only method of treatment. Find out what the surgery involves and what the consequences are.

How do you know you need cataract surgery?

Cataract may sound like a problem only older people need to worry about, but it’s not. Not only can you get cataract at any age, but you’re more likely to develop it if you’re over 40 years old. It can develop slowly enough that you don’t notice it until it affects your vision. And the only form of treatment is to remove it with lens implant surgery.

Here are some signs that it might be time for surgery:

  • blurred, cloudy or poor vision
  • photophobia: intolerance to natural or artificial light
  • visual discomfort caused by headlight glare
  • need better light for reading and other activities
  • appearance of halos around light sources
  • frequent changes in the prescription of glasses or contact lenses
  • improvement of near vision, with a concomitant decrease in distance vision (in the first phase, some patients, who had plus diopters, are happy that their “sight has returned” – they can read without glasses or with older glasses with smaller numbers)
  • increase in diopters in those with myopia (minus lenses)
  • chromatic sense may be altered in nuclear cataract, accompanied by a deficit in the yellow/blue axis
  • the visual field may show a general decrease in sensitivity (in automated perimetry) or contraction of isopters, localized scotomas (in kinetic perimetry)

What does cataract surgery involve?

This technique involves making a small incision and extracting the nucleus after its fragmentation using ultrasound. The advantage of the method is rapid wound healing without sutures, excellent restoration of visual function and a low rate of postoperative complications. The surgery is done one at a time. It is not recommended to be performed on both eyes on the same day.

The surgery ends with the subconjunctival administration of antibiotic and steroid anti-inflammatory and the application of an eye dressing. Shortly after the surgery the patient can go home without any particular restrictions. 45 days local treatment with eye drops should be administered, and physical effort, dusty environment and rubbing/pressing on the eye should be avoided. The eye is washed daily with boiled and cooled water or saline and cotton pads then wiped with disposable wipes. Foreign object sensation, tearing or sensitivity to light, and blurred vision in the first few days after surgery is normal.

Artificial crystalline is made of a biocompatible material that replaces natural crystalline. The most commonly used is the one for “posterior chamber” because it is positioned exactly in place of our natural lens. It can be of several types depending on the manufacturing material and the most commonly used are foldable ones. Lenses can be:

  • Spherical or aspherical monofocal
  • Toric monofocal
  • Multifocal
  • Toric multifocal

Each lens is recommended following investigations. Monofocal lenses, have a single focal point that provides clear vision at one distance, usually for distance vision, which means the patient will still need glasses after surgery for shorter distances (reading). Aspheric lenses provide clearer vision than spherical lenses.

Toric lenses are recommended for patients with astigmatism.

Multifocal lenses are the best performing and allow patients to see clearly at different distances and enjoy greater freedom. Multifocal lenses have three focal points for clear vision at near, intermediate and distance. 90% of patients with multifocal lenses have given up glasses completely. They are custom lenses that provide the best visual comfort for everyday activities.

What to expect after cataract surgery?

Recovery time is usually one or two days, but each person is unique, and the healing experience will depend on the health of the eye and the ease of surgery. In addition, an unnatural element has been introduced into the body, which makes it all the more important to plan regularly scheduled visits so your surgeon can monitor your progress. Blurred vision or feeling foggy is typical immediately after surgery. The eyes may feel somewhat painful and heavy, which is also normal. These symptoms will improve and the irritation will disappear within a few days. Your eyes may also be slightly swollen and you may see red spots (superficial blood) on the whites of your eyes, but these symptoms will also go away within a few weeks after surgery.

After surgery or laser surgery, you should be aware that a number of normal side effects may occur, which is why your doctor will recommend certain actions and prohibit certain activities. It is very important to take the specialist’s advice into account in order to carry out the treatment plan and to enjoy the positive results of the surgery as soon as possible.

Blurred vision – you will notice that immediately after the procedure, your vision will be blurred and you will have some discomfort for a few days up to 6 weeks.

Inability to drive – as your vision is weakened, all specialists recommend avoiding driving until your health has normalized and it is safe again for you and other road users.

The need for a recovery period – after the surgery there is a period of relaxation and rest, during which you will fully recover and regain your sight down to the last detail. This means taking a break from intense physical activity, and sick leave is also recommended.

A new care routine – after the surgery you should be careful not to touch your eyes, even if you feel discomfort or itching. Also, before using the eye drops prescribed by your ophthalmologist, it is important to wash your hands thoroughly to limit the chances of infection.

What complications can occur after cataract surgery?

Complications after cataract surgery are uncommon and most can be treated successfully. Risks of cataract surgery include:

The risk of complications is higher if you have another eye disorder or a severe medical condition. Occasionally, cataract surgery fails to improve vision because of underlying eye damage caused by other disorders such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. If possible, it may be beneficial to evaluate and treat other eye problems before making the decision to have cataract surgery.

What are the specialist's recommendations after cataract surgery?

Your vision may be blurred for up to six weeks after surgery. The patient goes home immediately after surgery. The operated eye remains bandaged until the next day. The next day the patient comes to the clinic for examination – the dressing is taken off and the procedures for maintaining the operated eye, and how the treatment is administered, are explained, after which it will be seen by the doctor.

  • the prescribed treatment must be administered at home for 45 days
  • the operated eye will be washed with boiled and cooled water or saline and cotton pads
  • touching the operated eye with a handkerchief or a dirty hand must be avoided
  • bathing is allowed, but without getting water in the operated eye
  • avoid intense physical effort. Do not press or rub the operated eye
  • eye healing takes a minimum of 8 weeks
  • 45 days after the surgery the patient will come for a check-up. Glasses will also be prescribed if needed for distance or reading.
  • at any change in symptoms, the patient will make an emergency appointment with the doctor
  • Don’t rub your eyes or squint your eyelids
  • Wash your hands before using eye drops and do not touch the eye dropper

Learn how cataract surgery goes, right from Dr. Holhoș, in this video:

Cataract surgery prices

See full list of Surgery prices or contact us for more details.

Text medically reviewed by Dr. Teodor Holhoș, Ophthalmic Surgeon
Written by Dr. Holhos Team

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