A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens causing a progressive decrease in visual acuity, for which no lenses or glasses can compensate or correct the discomfort felt. The treatment for cataract proposed by the ophthalmologist is surgical. Its goal is to allow the patient to obtain a quick and painless recovery of their sight. Discover in this article the steps of the cataract treatment: the screening, the preoperative and its examinations, the surgery as well as the question concerning the anesthesia and to finish, the postoperative follow-up with its treatments.
What is the treatment for cataracts?
To better understand the treatment of cataracts, let’s first talk about this ocular pathology.
It is an opacification of the crystalline lens, located behind the cornea. This degeneration of the crystalline fibers can affect one or both eyes. It prevents light rays from passing through the lens, causing blindness or vision problems. It is necessary to be screened by your ophthalmologist.
The COP9 team would strongly advise you to be referred to a specialized cataract ophthalmologist such as Dr. Stephanie Zwillinger.
With approximately 600,000 operations each year in France, this is the most frequent ophthalmologic surgical procedure. To determine if cataract treatment is necessary, your ophthalmologist will perform examinations to detect and evaluate the importance and evolution of this pathology.
Your specialist will determine which type of implant you will receive to replace the lens, depending on your vision. There exists:
- the monofocal implant (corrects myopia and hyperopia);
- the toric implant (corrects astigmatism);
- the multifocal implant (corrects presbyopia).
This type of cataract treatment is very meticulous. The surgeon will take care of the patient at all stages: pre-operation, surgery and post-operation in order to provide a personalized follow-up and the best possible care.
We wish to remind you that only a regular ophthalmologic follow-up will allow you to detect and treat cataracts, so do not hesitate to make an appointment with our specialists!
Cataract treatment: preoperative check-up and surgery
Once the diagnosis is established, several examinations are necessary in order to plan the treatment of the cataract. This is a pre-operative check-up, and is to be carried out with your ophthalmic surgeon and/or his team of orthoptists. The results will allow you to plan the ophthalmologic procedure.
- A keratometry, mentioned in this article, to examine the curvature of the anterior surface of the cornea.
- A biometry, or slit lamp examination on a dilated eye thanks to the use of eye drops, in order to accurately analyze the opacity of the lens.
- Macular OCT, or Optical Coherence Tomography, is used to analyze the central retina and to ensure that no other pathology is causing progressive vision loss. In this article we provide more information about OCT.
These examinations allow us to calculate the size of the future artificial lens implant that will be placed during the eye surgery. During the pre-operative check-up, do not hesitate to mention any current treatment. Some medications may be contraindicated; please discuss this with your surgeon and your anesthetist during your appointment.
The type of anesthesia is discussed and chosen by your specialists, in order to select the type that suits you:
- most often it is a use of eye drops or an injection of anesthetic in the corner of the eye;
- general anesthesia is very rarely used in the treatment of cataracts.
Cataract treatment is done on an outpatient basis, in the majority of cases. Hospitalization is not generally required.
If both eyes are to be operated on, the surgery is performed in two stages, one eye and then the other, with an interval of 15 days to 1 month.
The ophthalmic surgeon operates in a sterile environment, under a microscope. Through a small incision, the surgeon removes and sucks out the lens. Then, the artificial lens will be installed. The operation lasts about 15 minutes on average and is absolutely painless. You will then simply have to wear the dressing that will be applied to you after the operation.
The postoperative phase, the last stage of cataract treatment
After cataract surgery, each patient is accompanied by his or her ophthalmic surgeon as part of the post-operative follow-up.
Any eye operation to correct or treat an ocular pathology requires a check-up a few days after the operation. The objectives are :
- to ensure that there are no postoperative complications
- to check the implant;
- to inform the patient of any possible contraindications or care after cataract surgery.
Although rare, complications such as retinal detachment, hemorrhage or infection may occur. These risks are important to know but should not discourage the act of cataract treatment.
To conclude this article on cataract treatment, the COP9 team of Dr. Stephanie Zwillinger gives you 4 tips to take good care of your operated eye! Do not scratch your eye, avoid intense sports activities and efforts for two weeks, follow the treatment that your ophthalmologist has given you, and put the protective shell on your eye to sleep at night.
Have you had cataract surgery? Don’t hesitate to tell us about it in the comments!