Standard cataract surgery suitability criteria
Standard cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries in the world. It is safe and very effective when treating cataracts.
To ensure that you are suitable for standard cataract surgery in Brisbane, we will need to examine your eyes in your initial consultation prior to surgery being arranged.
How cataract surgery in Brisbane works
Standard cataract surgery involves restoring the clarity of the vision.
The primary goal with this type of surgery is on achieving a high level of distance vision. We do this by removing the cataract lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens that provides a single focus. You will likely need glasses for mid-range (using a computer) and near vision activities such as reading and sewing.
Advantages and disadvantages
- Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in Australia. The procedure typically takes less than half an hour and does not require an overnight stay
- Cataract surgery is one of the safest surgeries performed on the human body. Generally, your recovery will be short and uneventful, and you will be kept informed at every stage
- Vision is usually improved the day after surgery. Maximum improvement is usually achieved with EDOF, trifocal and toric lenses.
- The lens implants are permanent and ordinarily do not need to be replaced – they are good for the life of the patient
- Mild discomfort: After surgery, it is normal to feel mild discomfort, irritation, or a stingy sensation. If you experience these symptoms you can take paracetamol (such as Panadol, Panamax, Dymadon, or Panadeine). Mild mucous, a small amount of bloody discharge, and watering of the eye is also considered normal
- Driving is not permitted for 24 hours following surgery, due to the sedation used
- Light sensitivity: It is also quite normal to be sensitive to light after surgery. You will be given a pair of dark glasses after your procedure
- You must avoid:
- Rubbing your eyes
- Engaging in strenuous activity/exercise, gardening, or heavy lifting (greater than 10kg) for two weeks
Wearing eye make-up for one week
- Swimming for two weeks
- Allowing water/shampoo to come into direct contact with the eye for two weeks
Standard cataract surgery risks
There is a 98 – 99% likelihood of undergoing cataract surgery without complications that may permanently affect your best possible vision.
The risks of not having cataract surgery
In certain people, the growth of a cataract can make them prone to primary angle-closure glaucoma. This is where the drainage channel in the front of the eye (trabecular meshwork) is gradually narrowed by the increasing size of the crystalline lens. Eventually, the drainage channel can become completely blocked, resulting in a rapid increase in the pressure within the eyeball and a painful red eye. Long-sighted patients are more likely to be at risk of angle-closure glaucoma. Your eye specialist will be able to assess if you are at risk of primary angle-closure glaucoma and whether you would benefit from cataract extraction or another treatment to prevent this serious condition.
Options and alternatives
Restore your vision AND eliminate your need for glasses
If you would like to experience freedom from glasses after your cataract surgery in Brisbane, you have the option to choose your desired prescription by opting for:
- Lifestyle cataract surgery – Restore clarity of vision AND correct your glasses prescription to suit your active lifestyle
- Laser cataract surgery – Restore clarity of vision AND correct your glasses prescription so you no longer need glasses for reading and distance vision.
Does a non-surgical treatment exist?
The alternative to having cataract surgery is quite simply not undergoing cataract surgery. Cataracts are unable to be treated with anything other than a surgical procedure. If you do not treat your cataracts then over time they will continue to cause your visual acuity and contrast sensitivity to gradually decline. Your optometrist may ultimately be unable to prescribe glasses to provide any form of visual clarity.
The cataract will eventually blur your vision to a point where daily activities can become difficult to perform.
In some cases, if you do not opt for cataract surgery, the natural lens will thicken in addition to going cloudy, and can potentially cause the drainage pathway of the eye (the trabecular meshwork) to narrow. This can put you at risk of a condition known as angle-closure glaucoma, which can result in irreversible vision loss.
Standard cataract surgery steps
The most common type of cataract surgery is known as micro-incision phacoemulsification cataract extraction. We perform this procedure with local anaesthetic (eye drops) and copious sedation.
We make a small (2-2.5mm) self-sealing incision on the side of the cornea, the clear membrane on the surface of the eye. We then insert a fine ultrasound (phaco) probe. Vibrations from the tip of the probe fragment and emulsify the cataract into a pulp. We then carefully remove these fragments of cataract under microscopic guidance.
Following this, we replace your natural lens with a biocompatible monofocal lens, specifically preselected for your eye. The implant is rolled up in a special lens injector and gently guided into place by your surgeon. In the majority of cases, the IOL will sit within the natural bag that originally held the crystalline lens (the capsule), and sutures are not usually required to position the IOL.
Standard cataract surgery results
After standard cataract surgery in Brisbane, we will have removed your cataracts and your potential for good vision will be back to its former level.
Over 70% of patients achieve excellent distance vision (20/25 or better) without glasses.
You may need glasses with a small prescription to achieve your best possible distance vision.
The degree to which cataract surgery can correct pre-existing focusing errors varies according to:
- The severity of the pre-existing focusing error
- Dry eye syndrome
- Macular conditions
- Other factors such as astigmatism that influence the health of the eye