What is a cataract?
The natural crystalline lens of your eye is situated behind the colored ring (iris) of the eye. It is responsible for focusing incoming light on the retina (the innermost layer of the eye) thereby permitting sharp vision. This scenario is the ideal, but changes in the lens leads to spectacle errors, especially so after the age of approximately 45 years. This is called presbyopia. In time the lens also becomes cloudy, effectively blocking incoming light, leading to poor vision even with spectacle correction. This is known as a cataract, and cataract surgery affords the definitive solution.
The treatment of cataracts
During eye cataract surgery the content of the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a plastic lens, the primary aim being to enable light to penetrate the eye unobstructed thereby improving vision, although with some spectacle correction still needed.
Dr. Frikkie Hartog also makes every effort to reach his secondary goal: reducing the spectacle error as much as possible allowing the patient to perform most of his daily activities without the need for any spectacle or contact lens correction. In order to achieve this goal Dr. Hartog makes use of the following:
- Laser assisted measuring of the eye (optical biometry with the Nidek biometer and IOL Master) with the most up do date software in order to accurately calculate the ideal lens for each eye
- The use of aspheric, toric (in order to reduce astigmatism) and multifocal lenses from a reputable company with a very long track record of excellence
- Dr Hartog has used the same lenses since 2005 permitting optimization of the visual results from analysis of all his previous cataract surgeries thereby significantly improving his outcomes
- Performing small incision surgery through a 2,2mm stab incision, permitting a speedy visual recovery
- Cataract surgery is performed as a day procedure without the need for any stay in hospital.
What to expect with cataract surgery
Cataract surgery is performed on more than 22 million people worldwide every year, due to the fact that it is a safe and painless procedure producing excellent results. Cataract surgery is performed with a local anesthetic of the eye alone, and is completely painless with no discomfort afterwards. The safety and efficacy of the procedure is of paramount importance to Dr. Hartog, and therefore he uses the newest in phacoemulsification technology to remove the cataract in the Alcon Centurion Vision System.
On the day of surgery:
- You can have your breakfast as usual and take all medication as you would every morning
- The nurses and theatre staff deals mainly with ophthalmology patients and are very efficient in not only preparing the patients for surgery but also ensuring their comfort
- Drops are instilled as preparation for the eye to be treated
- Sterile theatre attire is worn over your own clothing which should be comfortable
- The anesthetist will give you some medication to numb the senses and also medication that comfortably anesthetizes the eye
- The surgery itself should last between 10 and 15 minutes, and since you are awake you are able to communicate any discomfort
- After the surgery you return to the ward with a protective cover over the operated eye
- The next morning the eye cover is removed in the rooms, and you are instructed on the use of the topical drops
- You can expect a speedy visual recovery with no discomfort
- The second eye will be operated the next week, after your visual recovery and your satisfaction has been confirmed