Cataract Surgery Explained
Cataracts might be the most common cause of poor vision today, but here are ten things you probably did not know about this common ophthalmic surgery.
One- It is much quicker than you would think. If it is straightforward cataract surgery, the procedure only takes about 10-15 minutes. If it is straightforward cataract surgery, the procedure only takes about 10-15 minutes.
Two- The surgery is done with topical drops or a spray.
Three- You will see a kaleidoscope of images during the surgery. Patients see only beautiful lights during the surgery because the eye topical anaesthetic distorts their images, displaying a kaleidoscope of colourful lights.
Four- Cataract surgery gets rid of the haze. Have you ever seen someone endlessly wiping their glasses when their glasses are actually spotless? One of the main indicators of cataracts is that the patient’s lens looks hazy under a microscope. When people look through a cataract, they think this haze is on their glasses, when it is actually due to the cataract behind the pupil.
Five- Your ophthalmologist will be seated next to you the entire time. One or two hours before the surgery you will be in a pre-operative preparation room where you will get drops in your eye to dilate the pupil. You will then be taken to the theatre in a wheelchair. Your face will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution. Your ophthalmologist will be seated next to you, the eye not being operated on will be covered with a drape. You won’t have to worry about keeping your eye open, Dr will keep it open with a small speculum. You will have access to oxygen to prevent feeling claustrophobic.
Six- Cataracts cannot ‘grow back’ after surgery. But, the eye, like all other organs, has a metabolism of its own. Fluid constantly circulates through the eye. What can happen is that protein deposits can start to cling to the lens, giving you the impression that a cataract is developing again. In this case, it appears as if you are looking through that same mist as before the surgery. This certainly does not always happen. Rather – We can not predict when this will happen – it might take years.
Seven- These post-surgery protein deposits can be dealt with non-surgically. It can be treated with a painless, non-surgical procedure, which is not in the theatre. You sit in a similar chair as during your examination, with your chin in a chinrest. Your ophthalmologist will then dilate your pupil and shoot the protein deposits off with a YAG laser. You feel as if he is doing nothing and all you can hear is a “tick tick” sound. Your pupil will remain dilated for the rest of the day, so your vision will still be blurry. The next day when your pupil is back to its normal size, your vision will also be back to normal.
Eight- You can have LASIK after Cataract surgery. Bear in mind that you need to have a regular corneal shape and enough corneal tissue to correct the remaining refractive error. But this has nothing to do with the cataract surgery and is a factor that all ophthalmologists will consider when determining whether or not a patient is a candidate for LASIK.
Nine- Cataract surgery is performed on the lens of the eye. This is surgery which involves going behind the pupil and operating on the lens. The lens should be naturally crystalline, but with age the lens can lose transparency, causing the aforementioned haze.
Ten- Cataract surgery can also be used for other eye conditions. Refractive Lens Exchange involves changing the lens due to optical error and not because it is misty. This is the same procedure as cataract surgery. This is not done on ages less than 45 unless you have cataract as well.
If you have any questions about Cataract Surgery contact Dr Aleksic at his rooms in our Office Tower on the 7th floor.
PEOPLE OF THE POINT – MARK TONKIL
Born, raised and schooled in Cape Town with one of his practices now in our centre, Mark Tonkil is this month’s People OF The Point.
Find out where his passion for optometry comes from and what he prefers to do when it isn’t helping people to correct their vision.
Why did you decide to become an Optometrist?
From the time I was probably 10 years old, I would spend school holidays at my father’s optometric practice in Parow.
Where were you before you came to The Point?
I have been and still, am in practice with my father in Parow on Voortrekker Road.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
I love giving sight – especially to those that have struggled with their vision previously.
What advice do you have for people aspiring to do Optometry?
Today Optometry is not only about clinical practice and vision. One needs to aspire to fashion, business and the love of people.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In Cape Town, with my family, practising optometry and loving what I do.
What are your hobbies?
Spending time with family and friends, mountain biking, boxing and optometry
Tell us about your family
I have been married to Bronwen for 18 years and she works with me in the Sea Point practice. We have three awesome kids, Zara, Mia and Alexander.
Where do you enjoy spending your downtime?
Love unwinding with my family at home and having a braai.
Have you travelled?
I have travelled for both business and pleasure including, Europe, North and South America, Singapore and Thailand.
Pop into Tonkil Abramson on the second floor and meet our newest member.
Until next time,
The Point Team x