What is Cataract?
A cataract is a progressive, painless clouding of the natural, internal lens of the eye. Just like how a camera lens work when focusing images onto film for a clearer picture, our natural lens focuses images onto the back of our eyes so that we can see clearly. Our natural lens are clear at birth but will gradually turn “yellow” over time as we age, the lens may begin to gradually become “cloudy”. This formation of “cloud” is called a cataract and is often a result of the natural aging process.
If you experienced one or more of these symptoms listed below, you may have cataracts;
- Blurry, foggy or dim vision
- Poor night vision
- “Halos” appearing around lights
- Sensitivity to bright lights or to sunlight
- Double vision in a single eye
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
How is cataract treated?
While new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses or magnifying lenses does improve the symptoms of early cataract, a surgery is the only effective treatment for a cataract patient. A cataract needs to be removed only when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading or watching TV.
Phacoemulsification, or phaco is a surgical method to remove cataract from patient. A small incision is made on the side of the cornea, the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. The specialist will then insert a tiny probe into the eye. This device emits ultrasound waves that soften and break up lens so that it can be removed by suction. Most cataract surgery today is done by phacoemulsification.
By having your vision tested regularly, you and your ophthalmologist can discuss if and when you might need treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
- When is the best time to treat cataracts?
- It is common misconception that all cataracts have to be “mature” before they can be removed. Cataract surgery is a routine procedure that can be performed as soon as your vision interferes with your quality of life.
- What happens if cataracts go untreated?
- The clouded areas of your natural lens can become larger and denser over time which will then cause your sight to worsen and eventually leads to blindness.
- Will the doctor treat both eyes at the same time?
- No. Your doctor will only treat one eye per procedure, allowing your eyes to have adequate time to recover and stabilize before treating the other. This will usually take up to several weeks.
- Am I asleep during the procedure?
- No, you will be awake throughout the procedure. However, you will be given some medication to relax during the surgery.
- Can cataracts grow back?
- Generally, once a cataract has been removed, it cannot grow back.
Dr. A Thirupathy Annamalai
MBBS (Manipal), M.Surg (Ophthal) (Malaya)
Resident Consultant2nd Floor
Tel: +606 - 315 8855