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Cataract surgery: Choosing correct IOL or Artificial Lens

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Cataract is the most common cause of treatable vision loss. In cataract, lens in one or both eyes become cloudy. In an eye with a cataract, light scatters throughout the eye instead of focusing precisely on the retina. Things look as if looking through dusty windshield. Symptoms of blurred vision, double vision, distorted vision despite eye glasses are typical of cataract.

Do not resort to eye drops or other treatments that claim to dissolve or remove cataract. Surgery is the only way to remove cataract. In cataract surgery cloudy lens is replaced with an artificial lens called Intra Ocular Lens (IOL). Cataract need not be removed until symptoms become too bothersome to do regular activities. Until then it can be managed with new prescription glasses to see better. There are different varieties of artificial lens to choose from, we will discuss in this blog.

Preparing for cataract removal surgery

Before surgery your ophthalmologist will measure your eye to determine correct focusing power for your Intra Ocular Lens (IOL). Finding correct power is crucial and is facilitated by advanced equipment. You might be asked to take some medicines and avoid some. Some eye drops may be started before surgery to prevent infection and reduce swelling.  Avoid eating any solid food at least 6 hours before surgery. After surgery, avoid soap or water getting in eyes and avoid rubbing your eyes.

Risks of cataract surgery

Like any surgery, cataract surgery has some risks, albeit small.

  • Infection in the eye
  • Bleeding in the eye
  • Swelling of the eye
  • Pain in the eye
  • Swelling of the retina
  • Detached retina, a dreadful complication with loss of vision, less in the hands of a successful and renowned Ophthalmologist
  • Vision loss
  • Dislocated artificial lens

Phacoemulsification

Cataract removal surgery is a single day OPD procedure and is done with you being awake under local anaesthesia. With phacoemulsification or “phaco,” cataract removal surgery can be performed with smaller incisions, promoting faster healing and reducing the risk of complications like retinal detachment. In phacoemulsification, an ultrasound instrument breaks up the cloudy lens into small pieces and suctions it out. After removing all remnants of the cloudy lens, clear intraocular lens of predetermined power is inserted. Stitch may or may not be required after the surgery.

Selecting Intra Ocular Lens (IOL)

IOLs are made of silicone or acrylic and are coated with UV protective layer. IOLs have different focusing powers. A suitable IOL for you is determined by measuring the length of your eye and the curve of your cornea. Sophisticated instruments make this crucial measurement accurate.

  • Monofocal IOL is most common type of lens used in cataract surgery due to lower cost. It has one focusing distance. It is set to focus for close, medium range or distance vision. Most people prefer to have them set for clear distance vision and wear eyeglasses for reading.
  • Multifocal IOLs provide both distance and near focus at the same time, reducing dependence on glasses.
  • Accommodative IOLs change shape inside your eye, allowing focusing at different distances. It usually avoids the need for glasses.
  • Toric lens is designed to correct astigmatism, a refractive error caused by an uneven curve in cornea or lens.

Cataract surgery cost

Cataract surgery costs are generally covered by mediclaim. The surgery cost varies with the type of IOL opted for, multifocal and accommodative IOLs costing more than monofocal. Select an IOL after discussing all the pros and cons of each type, your preference for near or distant vision, your budget and surgeon’s skill.

Modern cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures performed today. A cataract surgery in the hands of skillful and renowned Ophthalmologist in well-equipped Hospital like Currae results in higher chances of clear vision without the need of eyeglasses afterwards.

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