what to expect after cataract surgery melbourne

What to Expect After Cataract Surgery? Maximising Your Recovery

Although exceedingly common, cataracts are fortunately one of those eye conditions that can be effectively and completely treated. Currently, the only treatment is through cataract surgery, which is a highly effective and safe procedure. Cataract surgery is able to successfully restore any vision loss from a cataract, and may even be able to reduce your dependency on glasses or contact lenses afterwards. 

If you’re considering cataract surgery, the operation itself is only one part of the experience. Here’s what to expect after cataract surgery and what you can do to optimise your recovery.

 

What to Expect After Cataract Surgery with Your Vision?

Immediately after your cataracts have been removed, your sight is going to feel a little different. If your cataracts were quite advanced before surgery, your vision is probably going to feel very different! 

As it can take several weeks for your sight to stabilise and settle, don’t expect your vision to be crystal clear as you walk out of the operating theatre. However, depending on the state of your vision prior to cataract surgery, you may find your sight is already significantly clearer at day 1 post-operation. Over the following 4-6 weeks, you may find your clarity of sight continues to improve as any swelling of the cornea heals and the intraocular lens implant settles in its membrane capsule. 

It’s important to understand that cataract surgery will not restore any vision lost from other eye conditions, such as macular degeneration or corneal scarring. It is also not expected to improve your vision to a level past what you could achieve with glasses or contact lenses before the cataract formed in the first place. Your eye surgeon should be aware of any such eye conditions with the potential to affect the outcome of your cataract surgery. This will help to guide you in what to expect after cataract surgery and provide you with the most realistic expectations.

In addition to the world looking clearer, you can expect a few other changes once your cataracts have been removed. The colour of an age-related cataract is often yellowish-brown, which can cause some alterations to your colour discrimination. Once the cataract has been extracted, you may find colours appear brighter, more vibrant, and ultimately, more accurately represented in your visual perception. 

Some patients report an increase in glare sensitivity immediately after having their cataracts removed. This is typically because the eye has become accustomed to a reduced amount of light making it through the cataract. After cataract surgery, suddenly more light is able to pass through to the light-sensing retina, resulting in you feeling a little glare sensitive. This sensation is usually temporary, self-resolving in a few months as you adjust.

recovery what to expect after cataract surgery melbourneIn the meantime, you may want to use sunglasses in bright, dazzling conditions or reduce the brightness of your screens to make things more comfortable. 

You may experience some fluctuation of your sight as a result of dry eye. Dry eye is a common side effect of cataract surgery. It is thought to occur due to disruption to the nerves of the cornea during the procedure, which affects the production of tears. Similar to increased glare sensitivity, this is expected to resolve by itself over the following months after your operation. In the interim, you may use artificial lubricant drops to soothe and protect the surface of your eye. 

 

What to Expect After Cataract Surgery with Potential Complications?

The likelihood of your surgery going south is extremely low. However, as with any medical operation, there is a small risk for a serious complication or adverse effect. Some of these may result in permanent and significant vision impairment, especially if not managed promptly. After your surgery, if you experience any of the following, it is important to contact your eye specialist immediately. In the event that you are unable to get hold of your usual ophthalmologist, you may visit your local optometrist or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. Signs of a potentially severe complication include:

  • Increasing pain and redness around the eye
  • Deteriorating vision, whether a gradual decline or a sudden drop
  • Black areas or shadows across your sight
  • Flashing lights and/or floaters in your field of view
  • Nausea

 

Maximising Your Recovery 

After your operation, your surgeon will provide you with some post-operative guidelines in order to make your recovery as smooth as possible. It is important to follow these instructions closely as their aim is to minimise your risk of infection and trauma to the eye, including from sources you may not have considered before. If you need any clarity on any of the instructions, be sure to ask. 

Your post-op guidelines may include instructions such as:

  • Resting as much as possible and avoiding strenuous activities
  • Wearing your protective eye shield overnight for the first week or so
  • Avoiding unsterile water in the operated eye, including from swimming pools, saunas, hot tubs, and at the beach
  • Avoiding dirty or dusty environments
  • Completing your prescribed course of eye drops

After your eye has fully recovered from cataract surgery, it is important to keep up your routine eye tests, whether with your optometrist or ophthalmologist. Even having had your cataracts removed, it is still possible to develop other ocular conditions, such as glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration. Maintaining regular checkups with your eye care professional will help to take care of your eye health long after the cataracts are gone.

Call us today on (03) 9070 3580 for a consultation.

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

what to do after cataract surgery melbourne

What to Do After Cataract Surgery? Follow These General Considerations

Managing and treating cataracts are common aspects of eye care. While cataract surgery can be a daunting prospect, cataract surgery in Australia is considered to be a safe, effective procedure. After having your cataracts removed, your eye specialist will give you guidelines on what to do after cataract surgery in order to minimise your risk of a complication or adverse event. Depending on your specific eye specialist, your post-operative instructions may differ slightly, but here are some general considerations. 

 

What to do After Cataract Surgery?

Practising good eye care after your cataract surgery will help to make your recovery as smooth and uneventful as possible. This being said, even if your cataract surgery was uncomplicated and you are considered to be a low risk for any adverse events, there is always a risk after any surgical procedure. To reduce your risk, it’s important to follow all post-operative instructions or talk to your eye care professional if you’re unsure about what to do after cataract surgery

 

Allow yourself to rest

Although typically a simple day procedure, cataract surgery can leave you feeling fatigued and worn out. Be sure to bring a driver with you to take you home after your procedure and if you’re still feeling uncomfortable driving the next day, arrange for someone to bring you to wherever you need to go. Post cataract surgery is a great opportunity to take a break from housework and chores, which include avoiding any heavy lifting like shopping bags. You may also want to take leave from your regular job for at least a few days, depending on your vocation. 

 

Keep your eye clean and protected

Immediately after cataract surgery and for the following few weeks, your eye will be at a heightened vulnerable state for infections. To minimise your risk of n infection, keep the eye area hygienic with clean water. Avoid any soaps, detergents, commercial facial cleansers, and makeup around the eye. Your eye specialist will also advise you to stay away from unsterile water sources as your eye heals over the first week or so – these include the beach, swimming pools, saunas and hot tubs. You can still shower (as personal hygiene is important!), but in the first few days, you may want to keep your eye out of the spray. As your eye continues to heal after cataract surgery, it’s a good idea to stay away from environments that increase your risk of catching debris in your eye. This can include the dusty storage areas of your house or even the park on a windy day. 

 

Finish your prescribed eye drops

care what to do after cataract surgery melbourneAfter your procedure, your eye specialist will prescribe you two to three bottles of eye drop medications. These include an antibiotic and one or two anti-inflammatory medications.

You’ll also be given dosing instructions, which may look something like “four times a day until the bottle is empty”, or “four times a day for the first week, tapering to three times a day for the following week, then twice a day for the week after”.

No matter what the dosing schedule is, it’s important to finish the full course of eye drops as prescribed by your specialist, even if your eye already feels better. 

 

Complete your review appointments

Typically, an eye specialist will want you to have a check-up a day or two after your cataract procedure, a week later, and then a month after that. As it can take 4 to 6 weeks for an eye to heal fully after a cataract procedure, these review consultations allow your eye specialist to ensure that everything is progressing as it should. It is not uncommon for these reviews to be conducted by another eye care practitioner, who will report back to the operating eye surgeon. Once it has been determined that your eye is healed and your vision has finished stabilising, your eye specialist will send you back to your family optometrist to check whether your prescription glasses or contact lenses need updating. 

 

Seek attention if anything is not right

Some discomfort in the short weeks following your eye operation is to be expected. You can expect to experience some increased glare sensitivity and grittiness in the eye, as well as the eye looking a little red and perhaps a bit watery. Also, while your vision will probably be much improved immediately after surgery, it may still take a few weeks for it to clear completely. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s important to contact your eye specialist immediately:

  • Deteriorating vision, including a decrease in clarity or areas of black/greyed out vision
  • Increased pain in the eye
  • Increased redness of the eye
  • Any pus or mucous discharge from the eye
  • Floaters or flashing lights in your vision
  • Unusual headaches or nausea

If you are unable to get hold of your usual eye specialist, you can contact your local optometrist, GP, or present at a hospital emergency department. 

If at any point you need further clarity about what to do after cataract surgery, be sure to ask someone, whether it’s your eye specialist, optometrist, or GP. It’s also important to continue getting regular eye check-ups even after your cataracts are gone, so remember to keep in touch with your local optometrist. 

 

Call us now on (03) 9070 3580 for a consultation.

 

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

cataract signs and symptoms melbourne

Cataract Signs and Symptoms – What You Should Be Aware Of?

Cataract signs and symptoms are typically very slow to develop. Sometimes this results in people being surprised when they are first told they have a cataract and that cataract surgery is expected in the next several years. Quite often, cataract symptoms may also be blamed on something else, such as poor quality newspaper print making it difficult to read. Could you be experiencing cataract symptoms without even realising? Keep reading to learn about what cataract signs and symptoms you should be aware of.

 

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a loss of transparency of the crystalline lens inside your eye. This affects the way that light passes through the lens, resulting in all the common cataract signs and symptoms. Most cataracts are caused by increasing age, known as age-related or senile cataracts. However, cataracts can also arise from other causes, including trauma, systemic diseases, and even some medications.

Cataract surgery is effectively able to reverse the vision impairment directly due to a cataract. Often, this is able to restore your vision to the clarity you once enjoyed years ago. However, if your cataract is only part of the picture and your vision is affected by other factors, cataract surgery may only be able to restore part of your vision. For example, if an eye injury has resulted in both a cataract and a retinal detachment, cataract surgery will provide only a partial improvement.

 

Cataract Signs and Symptoms

Cataract symptoms can vary between different individuals and can even play a role when you feel ready to pursue cataract surgery. What you experience as your cataract develops can depend on a few different things, such as: things cataract signs and symptoms melbourne

  • Your sensitivity to changes to your vision
  • The location and type of cataract
  • The severity of your cataract
  • Even your hobbies and vocation

The most well-known cataract symptom that people expect is blurry vision. While blurry vision is certainly common, identifying that your deteriorating vision is due to a cataract can be more difficult than you think.

People with cataracts may also describe their vision as foggy, filmy, or cloudy. In fact, in the early days of a cataract, you may think that your glasses are just always dirty! 

Here are some other typical cataract symptoms

 

Deteriorating contrast sensitivity

With a cataract blocking part of the light trying to enter your eye to form vision, you may find increasing difficulty in seeing in low contrast situations. For example, where you were once able to read the fine print of a menu in a dimly lit restaurant, you may now need a bit of extra lighting. The same goes for realising you’re most comfortable in reading the newspaper in the natural light of the morning. Some people will first notice this symptom when driving in overcast or rainy conditions, or during dusk or dawn. 

 

Increasing glare sensitivity 

Everyone will feel some degree of discomfort to overly bright lights. However, with the development of a cataract, you may find yourself squinting in lights that once didn’t bother you. This is because the growing opacity of the cataract scatters light passing through the lens, which is what we perceive as glare. Moments where you find yourself unusually glare sensitive may include driving at night with oncoming car headlights or street lamps, or when trying to read LED signboards, such as at a sports ground. You may also find your backlit mobile phone or computer screen also becomes more uncomfortable to view. 

 

Frequent changes to your prescription

Your prescription is partly dictated by the refractive power of your eye. As a cataract develops in your crystalline lens, it can gradually change in its refractive power, thereby altering your prescription. You may find that the glasses you purchased only a year ago are no longer clear, or that your contact lens script changes at every check-up. Depending on the type of cataract, the power of your eye can move in either a short- or long-sighted direction. An interesting benefit of this is that it can cause you to be less dependent on your glasses, depending on your original prescription and in which direction it has shifted. A cataract may also cause changes to your astigmatism. 

An isolated cataract is never associated with pain or redness of the eye. Other eye conditions such as infections or injuries may share some cataract symptoms but if you are also experiencing discharge, pain, or redness, you can be sure it’s not a simple cataract. 

 

Deciding on Cataract Surgery

Fortunately for us, cataract surgery is easily accessible in Australia, whether through public or private medical systems. 

The main consideration of deciding whether you’re ready for cataract surgery is whether your vision is still adequate for your needs. This can vary widely from individual to individual, even those who have the same level of cataract. In the early to moderate stages, you may find you’re still quite satisfied with your vision, and cataract surgery can be comfortably delayed. Conversely, if your work or hobbies require you to have very sharp, accurate vision, you may be inclined to undergo cataract surgery sooner rather than later. For example, a truck driver doing long trips overnight may be significantly more impacted by the glare from a cataract compared to an office worker who drives infrequently at night. 

Ultimately, the timing of having your cataracts removed is largely up to you. However, you may want to discuss it with your optometrist, GP, or ophthalmologist, who will be able to guide you. Call us on  today for a consultation.

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

cataract surgery benefits melbourne

Cataract Surgery Benefits vs Risks – Getting Ready For Eye Treatment

If you’ve just been told you have cataracts, you’ll be reassured to know that cataracts are one of those eye conditions that cause vision loss which can be easily reversed through cataract surgery.  But although cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the world, choosing to put your eyes under the knife is no inconsequential decision.

As with most, if not all, invasive medical procedures, cataract surgery has benefits but also risks. In consultation with your healthcare team, it’s up to you to decide whether the cataract surgery benefits outweigh the potential risk of complications or side effects. 

 

Cataract Surgery Benefits

The most obvious of all the cataract surgery benefits is having your sight restored. A cataract is an opacity or haze in the crystalline lens of your eye. This lens should be clear and transparent to allow light to pass through, which is vital for sharp vision. Eye conditions blocking this passage of light, such as a cataract or even something else like a scar on the cornea, won’t cause total blindness but can significantly reduce the quality of your vision.

Depending on the density and location of your cataract, you may feel your eyesight is only slightly compromised or it may be significantly impaired. Once the cataract has been removed, light can pass through the lens unhindered, restoring your vision to the level of clarity you had before the cataract began developing. You may also find colours look much brighter and more intense as well as your contrast vision improved. This may be apparent during situations such as driving in overcast or rainy conditions or trying to read a menu in a dimly lit restaurant.  

During cataract surgery, the entire crystalline lens is removed from the eye and replaced with an artificial lens implant known as an intraocular lens. In many cases, particularly if you have your surgery with a private ophthalmologist, this intraocular lens may be calculated to correct your prescription. This leads us to another major plus of cataract surgery – you may no longer need to depend on glasses or contact lenses after your operation. There are various types of intraocular lens implants that suit different lifestyles, vocations, and hobbies, and can reduce the amount of time you need to wear glasses.

treatment cataract surgery benefits melbourneFor example, you may choose to have an intraocular lens that corrects for your long-distance sight, meaning you wear glasses only for near work such as reading, computers, or sewing.

Alternatively, you may opt for a more premium multifocal intraocular lens.

This may provide you sufficient reading vision for you to very rarely need to put any glasses on at all, perhaps just for reading very fine print or in low lighting conditions.  

 

Cataract Surgery Risks

Cataract surgery is typically considered an uncomplicated, effective procedure with a high safety profile. However, it is not without a potential for adverse side effects. 

The most commonly encountered side effects are minor, such as increased glare sensitivity or dry eye, which tend to self-resolve over a number of months. These conditions simply need some support in the interim, such as using darker sunglasses or lubricant drops. You may also be aware of little floating specks or lines in your vision from natural debris inside the vitreous gel of the eyeball. 

Some people may be disappointed by their eyesight after their surgery if it is not as good as they were hoping. This can be due to various factors, which include misguided expectations, inaccurate calculations of the intraocular lens, or if there are other undetected or poorly managed eye conditions that may be limiting the vision. 

 However, there is also a small risk of a more serious complication occurring either during the surgery itself or during the recovery period. These include an eye infection inside the eyeball known as endophthalmitis, which can have devastating visual consequences if not treated promptly. Other potential risks of cataract surgery include a retinal detachment, swelling of the macula (known as cystoid macular oedema), increased eye pressure and glaucoma, or if a fragment of the cataract is left behind in the eye. Other adverse effects include prolonged pain and inflammation of the eye, swelling of the cornea, or bleeding inside the eye. 

Most of these potential complications can be treated or managed successfully, whether by your original cataract surgeon or another specialist ophthalmologist. 

 

Am I Ready for Cataract Surgery? 

In the majority of cases, people with visually significant cataracts will decide that the cataract surgery benefits far outweigh the likelihood of complications. Your treating ophthalmologist will perform a thorough examination to ensure your cataracts are suitable for removal. During their assessment, they will also be able to determine whether you have any other factors or eye conditions that mean they need to be more cautious when proceeding with cataract surgery

Though you should be largely guided by your optometrist or ophthalmologist and their expertise, you may decide that your eyesight is not bad enough to warrant surgery at this point in time, which is valid. If you feel you are still comfortable with driving and daily tasks, you may ask your health professional if it is safe to defer cataract surgery until your vision deteriorates further.  

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

recovery after cataract surgery melbourne

Recovery after Cataract Surgery – What’s Normal & What to Look Out For?

It can be a little nerve-wracking to undergo any sort of surgical procedure – for some people, an operation on the eye is even more daunting. Fortunately, cataract surgery is a well-developed procedure with high rates of success in Australia. Although complications are not common, cataract surgery is not immune to postoperative adverse side effects. Read about what you can expect during your cataract surgery recovery

 

Recovery After Cataract Surgery

The rate of recovery after cataract surgery often differs between different individuals. It’s important to note that these are general guidelines of what you can expect during cataract surgery recovery, but depending on your eyes, vision, and whether your surgeon encountered any complications during the operation, you may find your experience is slightly different. 

After your cataract surgery procedure, your eye surgeon will give you a list of post-operative instructions to optimise your cataract surgery recovery. You’ll also be given a plastic eye shield to tape over your operated eye to protect it. As driving is not advised for at least 24 hours after your operation, you’ll need to have someone to drive you home and for the following day as well if you need to go out. However, immediately after your cataract surgery, it’s a good idea to rest as you’ll probably be feeling a little fatigued and perhaps a bit drowsy if you were given a sedative during the procedure. 

expectation recovery after cataract surgery melbourneStraight after the operation, your vision will likely still be blurry. Depending on how advanced your cataract was before it was removed, you may find your vision is already improved compared to prior to cataract surgery. However, you can expect it to continue to stabilise and gradually clear over the course of your cataract surgery recovery. After surgery, your eye may be a little puffy and bloodshot, and if you had a local injection of anaesthesia there may also be some slight bruising around the injection site, which will fade over the following days.

You can expect some watering of your eye as it heals. As there’s no longer a cataract filtering out light trying to enter the eye, lights may appear brighter than previously, which can cause you to feel glare sensitive. This will settle over a few months. You may also find colours appear brighter and more vibrant. Some patients experience some dry eye symptoms following their cataract operation. In most cases, this also resolves over several months. In the meantime, you can speak to your optometrist or eye surgeon about dry eye treatment, such as lubricant eye drops.

Follow your eye surgeon’s advice about wearing your protective eye shield. You may be recommended to keep it on for the following day and then wear it only at night for a week or so to stop you from accidentally rubbing or bumping your eye during sleep. You’ll also have a few bottles of prescription eye drops to use, including an antibiotic to prevent infection, and one or two anti-inflammatory medications. It’s important to keep using your eye drops as per your eye specialist’s instructions, even if your eye feels better sooner than you expect.  

During your recovery after cataract surgery, try to keep the eye as clean and protected as possible. While it’s obvious you should avoid rubbing your eye as it heals, there may be some other situations to steer clear of that you may not have considered. These include dirty and dusty environments, such as construction sites, or even dusty areas around your home like under-house storage. Your eye specialist will also recommend you stay away from unsterile water sources for at least a week after your surgery, including saunas, swimming pools, and the beach, as this greatly increases your risk of an eye infection. You can shower (personal hygiene is still important!), but during the first day or so you may want to avoid getting water into your eye and instead gently clean your face with a damp cloth. Try to avoid soaps, shampoos, and even makeup around your eye area as it heals. 

Needless to say, try to take it easy during your cataract surgery recovery. Avoid activities that pose a risk of trauma to your eyes, such as contact sports, or any other strenuous activity. 

Most people will take about 4-6 weeks for their eye to heal and vision to stabilise. Your eye surgeon will advise you when it’s okay to get an eye test with your optometrist to update your prescription. 

 

Red Flags

Occasionally, something can go wrong even after the smoothest cataract operation. If you experience any of the following, it’s important to contact your eye surgeon immediately.

  • Deteriorating vision, whether a decrease in the clarity of your vision or an area of total vision loss
  • Persistent or increasing pain in your eye
  • The sudden appearance of flashing lights in your vision or little floating specks or lines
  • Persistent or increasing redness of your eye
  • Apart from the mild watering expected immediately after your surgery, the development of any discharge from your eye
  • Nausea, vomiting, or fever
  • Unexpected double vision

You will be scheduled routine review appointments with your eye specialist, typically one week and one month after your operation, but if your eye or vision doesn’t feel quite right at any point, be sure to have it assessed sooner rather than later. 

Call us on (03) 9070 3580 today for a consultation.

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

cataract causes melbourne

Most Common Cataract Causes That You Should Know

A cataract is an opacity or clouding of the eye’s crystalline lens. This lens is located just behind the coloured iris of the eyeball. As this lens clouding gradually progresses, you end up with the characteristic cataract symptoms of foggy vision, glare sensitivity, and reduced contrast vision. For some people, a developing cataract also causes other noticeable cataract symptoms such as altered colour perception or frequent changes to their prescription. Fortunately, cataract surgery is considered a highly effective and safe operation and is readily available via the Australian healthcare system.

 

Cataract Causes

While this is not an exhaustive list of every single factor that potentially causes cataracts, here are some of the most common cataract causes.

Age. Older age definitely is at the top of the list of cataract causes. And because of our ageing population here in Australia, this also makes cataract surgery one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures. Exactly how increasing age causes cataracts is not fully understood, but doctors believe that the cumulative exposure of the eye to UV radiation over a lifetime may be at least partly to blame. Additionally, as we age, the crystalline lens continually grows more lens fibres around its outer layers. Over time this may compact the inner lens fibres and cause them to opacify.

Diabetes and other metabolic diseases. A systemic condition such as diabetes causes cataracts due to the abnormal metabolism of certain compounds in the body, which can accumulate in the lens of the eye or affect the water content of the lens. For example, diabetes causes cataracts by elevated glucose levels inducing the lens to absorb more water and swell. This intake of water damages the lens fibres and causes them to become opaque.
It is estimated that people with diabetes are at a 60% higher risk of developing cataracts compared to someone without diabetes. Furthermore, because of the other effects of systemic diseases on the body and other parts of the eye, having a metabolic condition may make cataract surgery more complicated.

factors cataract causes melbourneCertain medications. Various medications, whether topical eye drops or systemic administration (such as via intravenous injection, inhaler, or oral tablets) may be associated with the development of a cataract. The risk of developing a cataract as a side effect of a medication is usually dependent on the dosage and duration of use of the drug. The most well-known of these are corticosteroids. A steroid-induced cataract often forms at the centre of the back surface of the lens, leading to significant cataract symptoms such as glare sensitivity and a decrease in vision. Unfortunately, once a steroid-induced cataract has formed, ceasing the steroid medication doesn’t reverse the cataract; only cataract surgery is able to treat it.

Smoking. Tobacco use is also on the list of cataract causes and may accelerate your need for cataract surgery at an earlier age compared to a non-smoker. Smoking is also associated with an increased risk of various other eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration. Unlike cataracts which can be treated with cataract surgery, the vision lost from macular degeneration is irreversible. Research tells us that a smoker is twice as likely to develop a cataract compared to someone who has never smoked. Those who are previous smokers but now no longer smoke are able to decrease their risk but unfortunately still carrya higher risk of developing a cataract compared to someone who has never smoked.

Trauma. Types of trauma that are inducing a cataract are not limited to just an accidental hit to the eye. While a blunt blow such as a cricket ball has the potential to cause a cataract, radiation to the eye and electrocution may also result in cataract formation necessitating cataract surgery. Penetrating eye injuries such as a shard of glass through the eye from a car accident can also cause a cataract, as can chronic inflammation in the eye, such as from uveitis.

Other systemic health conditions. Having hypertension or being obese is also linked with a higher risk of developing a cataract. Excess fat tissue when overweight releases a chemical into the bloodstream that causes oxidative damage to the eye. This causes the lens fibres to become hazy. Elevated blood pressure during hypertension is thought to cause inflammation throughout the body, which may also induce cataract formation. Studies have observed that hypertension is in fact the most frequent risk factor in patients attending for cataract
surgery.

● Alcohol consumption. Alcohol intake and its effect on cataract formation is not fully understood as different studies have observed different findings. Many have noted that the risk of developing age-related cataract symptoms increases with an increasing level of alcohol consumption. However, some studies have also found that moderate alcohol consumption actually has a protective effect against cataract formation, decreasing the
likelihood of cataract surgery.

With the eye being such a complex and delicate organ, we are likely to discover more factors associated with causing a cataract as our medical understanding continues to progress. Fortunately, cataracts can be effectively treated through cataract surgery, often restoring your vision to pre- cataract days and even giving you clear vision without your old glasses!

Call us now on (03) 9070 3580 for a consultation.

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second
opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

eye cataract treatment melbourne

Eye Cataract Treatment – How Does It Really Work?

Have you just been told you have a cataract in your eye? Cataract treatment is a safe, effective surgical procedure. Because cataracts are typically associated with ageing, in Australia with our ageing population, that makes cataract surgery one of the topmost commonly performed operations in our country.

 

What is the Best Treatment for a Cataract?

Currently, the only definitive eye cataract treatment we have available is through surgical cataract extraction. In Australia, cataract surgery can be accessed either through the public system or performed by an ophthalmologist in the private system.

If you go through the public system, the operation will be free but you will likely be on a waiting list for several months, depending on the particular hospital. This has implications for timing based on your eye cataract symptoms. If there are no other health concerns with your eye and your cataract symptoms are still tolerable, it may not be an issue for you to wait 6 months or even a year to have your cataract operation. Conversely, if your vision has deteriorated to a point where you are unable to drive safely, you may consider a private eye surgeon to be able to access eye cataract treatment more promptly.

As a cataract develops in the eye, cataract symptoms will gradually become more noticeable. The point that you may want to pursue cataract surgery will differ from individual to individual. For example, if one person’s hobby is bird watching, they may be more bothered by a mild deterioration to their vision from a cataract compared to another person who enjoys gaming. By attending your scheduled eye examinations with your optometrist or ophthalmologist, your eye care provider will be able to guide you as to when your cataracts may be ready for surgery.

 

How Eye Cataract Treatment Works?

Cataract extraction through surgery is associated with high rates of success in Australia. The aim of a cataract operation is to remove the cloudy lens from the eye and replace it with a clear artificial lens implant known as an intraocular lens.

procedure eye cataract treatment melbourneBefore you go into surgery, you will have at least one or two consultations with the eye specialist. During these appointments, the doctor will perform a thorough eye examination to assess the cataract and its effect on your vision. The examination will also aim to detect any other eye diseases or conditions that may make the cataract operation more complicated or limit the final result. For example, if you also have a retinal condition such as age-related macular degeneration that is affecting your vision, your eye doctor will explain that the improvement to your vision after cataract surgery may be limited by this macular disease.

During one of your pre-operation consultations, the eye specialist will also discuss your options for intraocular lenses. Intraocular lenses can be monofocal, multifocal, extended depth of focus, or accommodative. There are also toric intraocular lenses that correct for astigmatism. An intraocular lens is like a spectacle lens implanted in the eye; it can be chosen based on your eye’s prescription and what you want to achieve with your vision after the surgery. For example, some people choose monofocal intraocular lenses – this corrects your eye for one viewing distance, such as far sight; you will then use reading glasses for all near work, like reading or computer work. Conversely, people who spend a lot of time on near viewing may prefer to have intraocular lens implants that allow them to read without glasses and instead put glasses on for long-distance vision. A multifocal lens implant is designed to provide you with some degree of functional long and near vision without glasses. These types of intraocular lenses, as well as extended depth of focus or accommodative lenses, will often need some adaptation. Not all patients are suitable for these types of intraocular lenses, so it’s best to discuss this with your eye surgeon.

Cataract surgery is performed under local anaesthesia, either an injection around the eye or with topical eye drops. The eye surgeon will create a small incision at the edge of your cornea, which is the clear dome of tissue at the front of the eye. The incision can either be made using a handheld instrument or with a laser tool, known as a femtosecond laser. Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery is a newer technique that utilises the laser for several steps that are usually performed by hand during conventional cataract surgery. During laser-assisted surgery, the femtosecond laser is also used to open the membrane bag which holds the lens in the eye as well as to soften the cataract for fragmentation. During conventional cataract surgery, handheld tools are used to open the
membrane bag and then an ultrasound probe is applied to break up the cataract into pieces. Laser-assisted surgery also uses the ultrasound probe to fragment the cataract but typically uses less ultrasound energy as the cataract is already softened with the laser beforehand. The pieces of the cataract are then suctioned out of the eye in both techniques. Both femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery and conventional cataract surgery are considered safe and effective methods of removing a cataract.

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second
opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

how long does cataract surgery take melbourne

How Long Does Cataract Surgery Take? What To Expect During Procedure

When it comes to eye care and surgical operations, cataract surgery can be a daunting prospect. While the image of lying on an operating table under glaring bright lights, watching a scalpel coming towards your eye makes the whole procedure sound much worse than it actually is, most people would not want to spend any more time in an operating theatre than they absolutely have to. If you’re curious about how long does cataract surgery take, read on for an in-depth answer to this common question about cataract surgery.  

 

How Long Does Cataract Surgery Take?

In general, uncomplicated cataract surgery operations can be as fast as 10 to 15 minutes, while procedures that are more involved can take in excess of half an hour. In studies investigating factors that affect cataract surgery operating times, researchers noted several factors that typically come into play. 

 

Type of anaesthesia

Cataract surgery does not usually involve general anaesthesia unless there is a reason the patient cannot comply with instructions during the surgery, such as mental impairment. Instead, the ophthalmologist will use either a local anaesthetic injected around the eyeball or a topical anaesthetic eye drop to numb the eye before the procedure. Cataract operations that involve a topical anaesthetic result in a much shorter operating time compared to those using a local anaesthetic injection. 

 

The expertise of the surgeon

factors how long does cataract surgery take melbourneUnsurprisingly, the skill and experience of the operating eye surgeon will greatly influence the efficiency of the cataract surgery procedure. In a study recording the operating time of a few different grades of surgeons, it was observed that consultants (a highly experienced cataract surgeon) were able to complete the operation between 9 to 29 minutes while cataract surgeries performed by a junior ophthalmologist ranged in duration from 19 to 41 minutes. It was also found that as the operation increased in complexity, consultant cataract surgeons were able to maintain a relatively quick operating time except in cases of very high complexity. 

 

Complications during surgery

While cataract surgery is known as a highly successful procedure in Australia and the developed world, there is always a chance of the unexpected arising, no matter how skilled or experienced the eye surgeon. Unexpected, or even expected, complications during any eye care procedure can extend the duration of the process as the ophthalmologist may need to use additional interventions or move at a slower pace during the operation. Although complications can happen to anyone undergoing cataract surgery, there are some factors that may increase the risk of the operation becoming more complex:

  • Older age, particularly those over 60
  • The presence of diabetes
  • Combining cataract surgery with another eye care procedure
  • The presence of other eye diseases, such as glaucoma or pseudoexfoliation syndrome
  • Taking certain medications
  • Long-sightedness, also known as hyperopia or hypermetropia, which results in a narrow space between the iris and the cornea
  • Very advanced cataract, as this can take a longer time and more energy to break into fragments

 

Small pupils

During cataract surgery, your pupil must be dilated to allow access to the ophthalmologist’s surgical instruments to the cataract. The pupil is the hole in the centre of the coloured iris of the eye; the lens, which is where the cataract forms, sits behind the iris. In most cases, the pupil can be dilated using topical eye drops. However, there are some pupils that don’t respond adequately to these drops, which means the eye surgeon must use another approach. These other techniques for opening the iris include tools such as iris hooks, expanders, or a ring known as a Malyugin ring. Pupils that are able to dilate well enough using topical eye drops alone are associated with faster surgery times compared to small pupils that require the surgeon to insert a device to stretch the iris wider. Out of the various tools used to widen the pupil, some are associated with longer operating times. For example, if your surgeon needs to use an iris hook to widen the pupil, this will take a longer time compared to applying a Malyugin ring

 

Ultimately, while it would be nice to know exactly how long does cataract surgery take, there is a multitude of factors that can unexpectedly lengthen the duration of this common procedure. Although many of these factors are out of your (and to some extent, your eye surgeon’s) hands, there are some things you can consider to help make your surgery as smooth as possible:

  • Disclose all medical history during your pre-operation appointments, even if you think it may not be relevant. This includes any medications you’re currently taking or even stopped recently, any health conditions you have, and your full eye care history. 
  • If you have the option, choose your ophthalmologist well. You may want to ask friends or family who have had cataract surgery if they had a good experience, or if your optometrist has any professional recommendations. 
  • Follow any pre-operation instructions. Some ophthalmologists may recommend pre-operative treatment, such as regular lid wipes or eye drops to prepare the eye for surgery and reduce the risk of excessive inflammation or an infection. 

Call us on (03) 9070 3580 today!

 

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

Cataract Surgery Aftercare – Things To Make The Recovery Go Smooth

Despite cataract surgery typically being considered a very safe, effective procedure, many patients
still have qualms about undergoing an eye operation. Common fears include complications occurring
during the surgery and the potential for losing further vision, and also the amount of time taken for
cataract surgery recovery.

While there is always the potential for an unexpected complication popping up during the cataract
surgery
recovery period no matter what you do, there are ways you can minimise this risk and make
your post-operative healing process as smooth and uneventful as possible after your cataract
surgery.

 

Cataract Surgery in a Nutshell

About 60 000 cataract surgery procedures are performed every day around the world. In the
Western world, success rates of this operation are very high, effectively restoring vision to pre-
cataract levels and sometimes even correcting your need for glasses or contact lenses in the process.

A cataract is an opacity of the lens inside the eye. Although there are several possible causes of
cataract, increasing age is the most common factor, causing this lens to gradually lose its
transparency and resulting in foggy or blurred vision.

Cataract surgery is an operation that removes, or extracts, this hazy, opaque lens from inside the eye
and replaces it with a clear implant. The procedure is performed as day surgery and usually is over in
about 15-20 minutes per eye.

Your eye will be numbed with a local anaesthetic injection or topical anaesthetic eye drops. A small
incision is then made in the cornea, the clear front surface of the eyeball. Through this incision, the
ophthalmologist can insert the instruments needed to break up the cataract into fragments small
enough to be suctioned out from the eye. The incision is also used to insert the implant, known as an
intraocular lens. The incision is designed to self-seal during the cataract surgery recovery period so
no stitches are required.

After your cataract surgery, aftercare instructions will be given to you by your ophthalmologist and
clinical care team. It’s important to follow these instructions in order to minimise your risk of
complications as much as possible.

 

Cataract Surgery Aftercare

guidelines cataract surgery aftercare melbourneMany cataract surgeons will conduct a few aftercare appointments to ensure your cataract surgery
recovery is going as expected. This exact schedule may differ depending on your surgeon or how
your operation went, but for uncomplicated procedures, you’re likely to have a review exam a day
after your surgery, a week after, and about a month after.

The following cataract surgery aftercare guidelines are a general guide only; your eye surgeon may have more specific instructions to your situation.

 

Use your prescribed eye drops

After your operation, your ophthalmologist will prescribe you two or
three different eye drop medications. These are often a corticosteroid, an antibiotic, and sometimes
also a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. Your recommended dosing schedule is likely to change over
the three or four weeks you’re using these drops, such as using them four times a day for the first
week, then twice a day for the following week, etc. Your ophthalmologist and pharmacist should be
able to write these instructions out clearly for you but if you think you may get confused then be
sure to ask questions or take notes during your appointment. It’s important to stick to the
medication regime through to the end even if your eye feels back to normal quickly. If you’re
experiencing dryness or grittiness in your eyes post-operatively, your ophthalmologist may also
advise you to use lubricant eye drops to help you feel more comfortable.

 

Keep your eye clean

While avoiding dirt and dust in the eye is an obvious recommendation, it may
not be as common to think of other activities as a potential source of infection. Swimming pools,
saunas, spas, and even the shower are unsterile sources of water. While showering and good
hygiene is still important, your ophthalmologist may recommend you avoid swimming and hot tubs
for several weeks after your procedure. Soaps, shampoos, and makeup should also not go near the
operated eye for about a month, so use clean water only to wash your face.
Protect the eye. It goes without saying to protect your eye against any bumps and bruises while it’s
healing. Immediately after your surgery, you’ll go home with a plastic eye shield. Your
ophthalmologist may suggest you wear this overnight for at least a week to avoid accidentally
rubbing your eye during sleep.

 

Rest as needed

As your body heals, try to rest physically for the few days following surgery. If you’re
experiencing some pain or discomfort around the eye, you may take painkillers as required if you’ve
not been advised otherwise. It’s also recommended to avoid strenuous activities, such as exercise,
sports, lifting heavy objects, or physically demanding housework.

 

Immediately after your cataract surgery, you can use your vision as much as feels comfortable

Using your sight will not affect your eye healing during your cataract surgery aftercare period but you may
find your eye feels tired or dry more quickly as it’s still healing, particularly if you’re doing visually
intensive tasks like staring at the computer or reading. During your post-operative period, if anything
feels not right with your eyes or vision, contact your ophthalmologist immediately.

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second
opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

types of cataract melbourne

Different Types of Cataract – Understand How They Can Affect Your Vision

Cataracts are a normal part of ageing and are often cited as the leading cause of reversible vision loss in the developed world. Fortunately, cataract surgery is an easily accessible service in our medical system with many highly skilled eye surgeons in both private and public practice. 

A cataract is an opacity or clouding of the lens inside the eye, which starts as transparent at birth. As we get older, the lens gradually loses its clarity and becomes hazy. Out of all the types of cataract, age-related cataracts are by far the most common, making cataract surgery one of the most commonly performed procedures in Australia with our ageing population. 

Depending on which of the various types of cataract develop in the eye, you will begin experiencing mild vision problems, such as blurry or filmy vision, increased glare sensitivity, or an alteration to your colour perception. In Western civilisation, very rarely does anyone reach complete vision loss from a cataract due to the accessibility of cataract surgery in our society. 

 

Types of Cataract

Eyecare professionals will typically categorise the types of cataract based on their location. Although most cataracts more or less share the same symptoms, depending on the location and nature of the cataract, specific vision problems may be more pronounced with one type of cataract compared to another. 

Nuclear sclerosis occurs in the centre of the eye’s lens, called the nucleus. To an optometrist or eye specialist examining your eye, this appears as a brownish-yellowing of the centre of the lens. Nuclear sclerosis can cause vision problems such as mild colour vision loss, as the discolouration of the lens filters certain wavelengths of colour trying to reach the retina at the back of the eye. This type of cataract can also cause what’s known as a myopic shift, where the prescription of the eye becomes more short-sighted. 

An anterior cortical cataract grows in the outer layers of the lens, in the fibres surrounding the lens nucleus. These look like bicycle spokes of white or grey opacities. An anterior cortical cataract is commonly associated with glare sensitivity, as the incoming light is scattered by these opacities. Some people with a cortical cataract will experience the opposite of those with a nuclear sclerotic cataract and find their prescription becomes more long-sighted, known as a hyperopic shift. 

The third type of cataract is called a posterior subcapsular cataract. These look like white plaques in the centre of the back surface of the lens. Because of this location, posterior subcapsular cataracts are associated with the most vision loss out of all senile cataracts, as well as significant glare sensitivity.  

categorising types of cataract melbourneFortunately, most age-related cataracts are easily managed with cataract surgery. In most cases, it is safe to delay cataract surgery until the vision problems from the cataract progress to a point where it impacts your daily activities, such as if you no longer feel comfortable driving. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will discuss with you if you have an eye condition that may mean it is better to have cataract surgery sooner than this point. 

Another way of categorising the types of cataract is from their underlying cause. 

  • Age-related cataracts. These are also known as senile cataracts, and as mentioned earlier, make up the vast majority of cataract cases.
  • Congenital cataracts. These cataracts are present at birth. Although there is sometimes no identifiable underlying cause, a baby may be born with a congenital cataract if the mother had an illness during pregnancy, such as measles or rubella. Certain medications taken during pregnancy have also been associated with congenital cataracts, such as tetracycline antibiotics. Congenital cataracts have the potential to cause permanent vision loss in babies if not treated promptly, as the visual system is still developing, however, the urgency of cataract surgery will depend on whether the cataract is considered visually significant or not.
  • Traumatic cataract. This can happen after an injury to the eye that can either be blunt, like a cricket ball to the eye or penetrating, like a shard of glass. The force of the trauma disrupts the fibres of the lens, causing them to lose their transparency. Electric shocks from lightning strikes or touching a live current can also induce a cataract, in addition to other eye problems. Though most traumatic cataracts will respond well to cataract surgery, the final visual outcome depends on whether other areas of the eye have also sustained any damage. 
  • Diabetic cataract. Amongst other eye complications, such as diabetic retinopathy, diabetes is also responsible for causing cataracts, resulting in the need for cataract surgery at an earlier average age compared to those without diabetes. Studies have found diabetes is associated with an increased risk of nuclear, cortical, and posterior subcapsular cataracts. 

There are various other terms to describe the different types of cataract, such as their appearance – cerulean cataracts appear as blue flecks in the lens while the white opacities of a snowflake cataract, as the name suggests, resemble a snowflake. There is even what’s known as a Christmas tree cataract, which appears as colourful, reflective, needle-shaped opacities in the lens. 

The only definitive treatment for cataracts is surgical extraction, though this may not be useful or necessary in all cases. 

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.