Cataract means that the eye lens, called crystalline, becomes opaque. Normally this lens is perfectly clear and ensures the image focus on the retina, meaning clear sight.
A congenital cataract is present even from birth, sometimes independent, sometimes in complex malformation syndromes.
It appears as a white reflex in the affected eyeball. It requires urgent diagnosis and treatment (in the first months of life), otherwise, the eye visual function cannot be recovered.
Worldwide, it is the most common cause of blindness. The development of adult cataract is due to aging, exposure to sunlight, smoking, malnutrition, ocular trauma, body system diseases, and certain medications such as steroids. More than half of the people over 65 have cataracts. Patients with cataracts usually complain of blurred, unclear images.
The most common cataract symptoms are:
- Blurred vision;
- Low night vision;
- Frequent diopter change;
- Color fading;
- Increased sensitivity to light, the appearance of a halo around lights;
- Double or multiple vision.
Caution!!! These symptoms can also occur in other eye diseases so that a specialist’s advice is mandatory!
The only effective treatment used for cataracts is surgery. It consists in extracting the opaque content of the natural lens with a fine ultrasonic probe.
Only the lens bag is kept, in which an artificial implant is inserted, that will replace the natural lens function. The surgery is high tech, operating on about 2 mm incision that does not require a suture.
Average cataract surgery cost with insurance for both eyes: $1000 or more
Average cataract surgery cost without insurance for both eyes: from $10,000 to $ 20000
Visual recovery is usually restated the next day after surgery, but the complete eye healing is obtained in about a month after surgery. During this time the patient will take a local treatment with eyedrops (antibiotics and anti-inflammatory treatments), will maintain rigorous hygiene of the eye area, and will avoid any pressure on the operated eye.
There is no such thing as a specific optimal time for cataract surgery. In general, surgery is indicated when vision loss begins to interfere in the daily activities of a person.
It is preferable not to wait until the last stages of the cataract’s evolution because, in these stages, the lens is more rigid and harder to extract through normal technique, with the chance of a bigger trauma for the eye’s tissues and with a higher risk of intraoperative complications.
How does the surgery ensue?
The eye should be carefully examined before the operation. With the help of special equipment, the eye is measured and the power of the artificial lens that needs to be implanted is established (biometrics).
On the surgery day, the patient must be present half an hour before the procedure.
During the surgery, which normally doesn’t take more than 15-20 minutes, the patient is awake. Usually local anesthesia it’s used, which eliminates any discomfort and prevents eye movement during surgery. Using modern special equipment (operative microscope, ultrasound devices) the natural sick lens it’s replaced with an artificial lens. Lasers are not used during these procedures.
Without surgery, advanced lens distortion can produce some toxic chemicals causing a severe form of glaucoma manifested by eye redness and real pain. At this stage, the eye practically cannot be recovered.
Should the average working Joe with cataract have the surgery?
Our health is always important and the fear of blindness should push you to go through the surgery and fix your eyes. Even if the price is high, this isn`t a problem you should neglect, because losing your eyesight is always worse than having a money problem.