Cataract means reduced transparency (opacity) and hardening of the eye lens that is normally clear. The cloudy lens prevents rays of light from getting through to the retina.
A mild degree of cataract does not have to affect seeing. The following accompanying symptoms occur when cataract progresses: blurred vision, sensitivity to glaring light, increasing short-sightedness and distortion of the observed object. Lens opacity increases over time.
Lens opacity progresses at different rates. It may take years from the initial difficulties to the complete blindness but it may also take months or decades.
The lens is located in the eye behind the iris. A non-cloudy lens cannot be seen in the eye. The task of the lens is to focus on the rays coming into the eye so that they strike on the retina. The lens consists of a capsule, lens nucleus and lens cortex. If we compared the lens to fruits, the capsule would be the peel, the lens cortex the pulp and the nucleus the stone.
Compared to today, cataract surgery was performed in a quite different way twenty years ago. By freezing it to a liquid nitrogen-cooled probe, the lens was extracted from the eye by way of a large incision.
The surgery was connected with a number of complications and surgery results were better in patients with a very cloudy lens. Therefore, eye doctors previously recommended to perform the surgery when the eye operated on was almost blind. The cataract "needed to mature".
The situation is quite different today. Surgery results are excellent and the percentage of complications is low.
If there are surgery complications, they occur much more often in patients with very cloudy ("mature") lenses.
Today, suitable time for surgery is determined by the extent of difficulties caused to the patient by cataract. If the difficulties caused by cataract make life difficult for the patient, there is no reason to postpone the surgery.
People usually want the surgery because they:
An intraocular lens is made of plastic. It compensates the dioptric power of the removed cloudy human lens. It is put in the original human lens capsule during the surgery.
The usual optical power of the intraocular lens is ++22 to +26 diopters and differs in different patients. The required dioptric power is determined through biometric calculation after the eye length is measured. The intraocular lens remains in the eye your whole life. Contrary to contact lenses, it is not necessary to take it out and clean.
The fine structures of the eye need to be protected against damage during the surgery. Special gel (viscoelastic material) is used for this purpose.
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