A cataract is a common eye problem that occurs when the normally clear lens of the eye becomes clouded. The result is blurred vision. Although cataracts can develop in childhood or in people with health problems such as diabetes, the majority are age-related. By far the group most affected are those aged 60 and over. It is estimated that one in three older Americans will need cataract surgery at some point in their lives.
When a cataract interferes with such daily activities as reading or diving a car, the treatment is often a very common procedure called cataract surgery. It may take place in the hospital, doctor’s office, or an eye clinic. It usually lasts about one hour and is painless. The patient may be awake during the operation or may be put to sleep for a short time. During surgery, the doctor makes an incision in the side of the cornea, the clear surface covering the front of the eye. In some procedures, the incision is small and a tiny probe is inserted into the eye. It breaks up the cloudy lens, and the pieces are removed by suction. In other operations, the incision is larger and the cloudy lens is removed in one piece. The lens may be replaced with a clear, artificial, intraocular (IOL) lens. This lens implant becomes a natural part of the eye. In some patients with other eye problems, a soft contact lens may be used. A patient generally goes home a short time after the operation wearing an eye patch for overnight. Complete healing and normal vision may take up to eight weeks, although clearer vision is generally experienced in a far shorter time. The cost of cataract surgery varies and depends on the type. The numbers given for costs paid out-of-pocket vary between $3,000 and $5,000, with the IOL lens the most expensive.
Cataract surgery is one of the safest of operations. However, there are some risks such as infection and inflammation, and many patients will still need reading glasses. Even with such a safe procedure, this operation may soon be replaced by image-guided laser surgery, which is said to be faster and more precise. The incision and lens removal now done by the surgeon are performed with a special laser guided by 3-D imaging. It is predicted that this surgery could even restore 20/20 vision. Find out more information on cataract operation procedures.
Your doctor has recommended that you undergo lens replacement surgery to treat a cataract. But what does that actually mean? Watch this video and have a better understanding on the surgery procedures.