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CATARACT: Treatment Options

The occurrence of cataracts among the aging population is quite prevalent, as the probability can increase to 50 percent, once an individual reaches his sixties.If you live long enough you will get a cataract.

Contrary to popular belief, cataracts pertain to the cloudiness in the vision of a person, and not a sign of development of a cancer tumor. Just like most visual impairments, the condition is a progressive one, thus there is an unlikely chance that a person with cataract can immediately notice any signs and symptoms. In time, however, the condition will lead to blurriness in the vision, double vision, or even colour-deficiency, among others.

The current conventional medicine still does not have a specific treatment method that can lead to the best possible cure or any preventive measures that will hinder the onset of this visual impairment. It is, however, notable that there are some available remedies and options that patients with cataracts can consider. These options will help in restoring their visions or in removing the cataract through surgical methods.

Cataract Removal

•    Phacoemulsification. Commonly termed as phaco, this cataract removal technique is done by breaking the cloudiness or the protein build up in the center of the lens. The eye doctor performs this method by inserting a probing device on the eyes by creating a small incision on the cornea. The device produces ultrasound waves that facilitates in the process of breaking the buildup that it has detected in the lens.
•    Extracapsular surgery. In this process, the eye doctor creates a longer incision on the corneal side. The hard center of the eye lens is then removed through suction and it will be replaced with an intraocular lens. This procedure is virtually outdated now as it is quite traumatic and visual recovery is quite slow.
•    Femtosecond laser. For years patients have been asking about doing cataract surgery with laser but they were confusing it with laser eye surgery that reshapes the front window of the eye. The laser now finally has a role to play in cataract surgery.  Part of the procedure that used to be done manually called the capsulorhexis can now be performed with the Femtosecond laser and the rest of the procedure is done with Phacoemulsification.  As time passes and this procedure evolves it is likely that laser will have a larger role to play.

Lens Type Replacement Options

•    Monofocal Lens Implant. Similar to the extracapsular surgery, the lens is replaced, although the effect is only beneficial to treat near-sightedness.
•    Multifocal Lens Implant. This kind of surgery addresses the need for both far-sightedness and near-sightedness, since the focal point of the lenses are set towards different distances.
•    Toric Lens Implant. Toric lens implant is used to correct astigmatism. Patients with cataracts or severe astigmatism can avail of this method in combination with a LASIK surgery.
•    Refractive Lens Surgery. In cases where in the cataracts has not fully developed yet, the eye surgeon can still prescribe this technique. Depending on the visual complication of the patient, the lens that will be replaced can be toric, monofocal or multifocal.

The key on how to avail the best treatment options for cataracts would be to locate credible eye surgeons who have had impressive track records of successful cataract removal surgeries or lens replacement surgeries. Ask for recommendations or read through feedback in order to find the best eye surgeon that can handle the complications of cataracts. Although cost might be a consideration, it shouldn’t be the main and sole factor in deciding which eye surgeon to get the services from. It would be best to visit each surgeon’s website or ask for a medical appointment in order to discuss their services, options and post-care treatment methods in order to arrive at a wise and informed decision.

Send us a quick enquiry. We certainly are familiar with all the great cataract surgeons in Sydney.  Even if you are not in Sydney we have many optometry colleagues that we can consult on your behalf.

About the Author

Dr Jim Kokkinakis (Optometrist) graduated in 1983 from the Optometry School University of NSW. He is currently a Senior Lecturer there and regular speaker to both Optometrists and Ophthalmologists in Australia and Internationally. He has a specialist clinical practice in the Sydney CBD with interests in Eye Strain, Computer Vision problems, Treatment of Eye Diseases and complex Contact lens Fittings.

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