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What is a cataract ?
Cataract is an opacification of the lens which produces a diminished visual acuity. This causes a hazy view and blurred vision reducing the capability of seeing the colours as good as before. It is like looking through a ground glass. The most frequently form of cataract is the one related to age that develops through the years. The intensity of the symptoms described above depends on the degree of lensopacification. At the beginning the near vision for reading could even be better than before. However, this is a simple transitory phenomenon; with time cataract keeps progressing and the vision for far diminishes too.
How do we discover a cataract ?
A complete eye exam should be done by your ophthalmologist to determine if the cause of diminished sight is effectively due to the cataract. There are also other causes which can produce vision regression.
Which is the treatment for a cataract ?
When a patient complains about a lack in vision or when this lack of vision produces difficulties in every day life activity, surgery should be planned. This is done ambulatory, on a outpatient basis (few hours in the clinic). A local anaesthesia is used, several drops of anaesthetic are instilled prior to surgery to numb the eye. Therefore there are no injections. We name it topical anaesthesia. It requires an extreme skill fullness of the eyesurgeon.The duration of the surgery is around 20 to 30 minutes.
How is a cataract surgery performed ?
Through a small incision of around 2 to 3 mm and under topical anaesthesia, the anterior capsel of the bag, containing the cataract, is opened. Through this opening the cataract is emulsified by ultrasounds. This technique is called phaco-emulsification or better known as “phaco”. After having vacuumed the emulsified rests of the lens, a foldable intraocular lens is introduced through the small incision into the bag.
This artificial lens unfolds with human temperature and nicely takes place into the lens bag to position itself correctly.