As we get older the human lens inside the eye becomes cloudy and also sometimes lead to quite sudden changes in the spectacle error of a person. Complaints usually include poor vision, especially so in poor lighting conditions, halos around lights, being blinded by the light of oncoming cars and the spectacles seeming dirty all the time.
The aim of cataract surgery is usually twofold in most cases. Firstly removing the cloudy natural lens and replacing it with a clear lens and secondly reducing spectacle dependency. Cataract surgery is a safe and painless procedure, providing excellent results with rapid visual recovery. The success is however contributable to the effort of the surgeon and the use of the latest technologies.
Using the latest technology the cataract operation can be performed through a small 2,2mm incision that heals very rapidly and does not need any suturing. A small opening is created in the front of the lens and the cloudy content is removed using a phaco probe that uses sonar energy to break the lens up into small pieces, enabling removal through a small opening.
Reducing the spectacle dependence for the patient is very possible with modern cataract surgery, but the success and accuracy is very dependent on the increased effort exhibited by the surgeon. This is especially important in calculating the correct lens to be implanted in order to permit excellent vision without the need for spectacles after the surgery. The strength of the lens to be implanted varies from patient to patient as well as eye to eye. In some circumstances specialized toric lenses are used to treat astigmatism. In order to calculate the strength of the intra-ocular lens to be implanted different steps must be followed, including the measurement of the eye and the use of an optimized lens (more about this later). The measurements used to be taken with a sonar, but the accuracy has improved manifold with the use of laser equipment to measure the eye to be operated. Dr. Frikkie Hartog uses both the Nidek Biometer as well as the Zeiss IOL master to prevent any inaccuracy. Different software formulas for lens calculation are used depending on certain specifications. This is especially important in patients that had previous laser eye surgery or radial keratotomies where the measurements are notoriously difficult and inaccurate. The additional information contributed by the Pentacam topographic examination of the cornea is very important in accurately measuring the cornea, as well as the use of specific software formulas.
Dr. Frikkie Hartog has been using the same intra-ocular lens range for the past eight years, monitoring the outcome of all the operations permitting him to optimize his results with every specific lens. All the lenses used are optimized after every 200 implanted and the results monitored and used to optimize the software used for the calculations. This greatly improves the accuracy of the result.
Modern cataract surgery is a refractive procedure with very accurate outcomes, but the accuracy can be dramatically improved with meticulous attention to detail. The effort exhibited is directly proportional to the patient satisfaction and spectacle independence.