Cataracts are called “cataracts” by doctors and are diseases of the eyes. This includes a reduction in visual acuity and vision due to clouding of the lens of the eye. Older people over the age of 60 are particularly affected. But thanks to constant research and the most innovative technology, cataracts can be treated better and better.
What is cataract? A brief overview
As already mentioned, cataracts, or cataracts, occur most frequently in the form of so-called “old age cataracts”. Other forms of cataract can result from injury to the eye, among other things. Or they are a side effect of certain general diseases or other eye diseases. But cataracts can also occur in newborns. The most classic symptom of cataracts is loss of vision and visual acuity, and increased sensitivity to light. In many cases only one eye is affected; later, however, the second eye can also be impaired. An ophthalmologist should be urgently consulted if the following symptoms occur:
• Acute pain in the eye.
• Massively reddened eyes,
• severe deterioration in eyesight,
• at a glance like through a curtain or veil,
• when flashes of light appear or as if a swarm of mosquitoes is dancing in front of the eye (flounces).
A wide variety of cataracts with differentiated symptoms
As an eye disease, cataracts have multiple faces and don’t just come in one form. The same applies to the many different symptoms that may or may not be associated with it. It is therefore important that an ophthalmologist is consulted at the slightest suspicion so that an individual diagnosis can be made.
Cataracts – therapy options or therapy options?
For many diseases of a person there are several and different possibilities for therapy or treatment. Cataracts, on the other hand, can only be treated with what is known as “cataract surgery”. During this operation, the lens is exchanged. This means that the clouded, diseased lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. The majority of all those affected with cataracts were able to see and recognize much better again after the operation.
According to the BVA, the Federal Association of Ophthalmologists Germany, cataract surgery is the most frequently performed operation in Germany, with 650,000 operations per year.
Cataracts – The Operation
The diseased, clouded eye lens is, as mentioned, exchanged during an operation for an artificial and so-called intraocular eye lens, or IOL for short. Cataract surgery is a treatment that is considered safe and proven. Insofar as the operated eye did not suffer from another disease, 90 percent of all operated patients were able to see better again afterwards.
As a rule, this procedure is performed under local anesthesia and on an outpatient basis. The person who has been operated on can therefore leave the hospital or practice on the same day. Cataracts in both eyes means that surgery will begin on the eye that is more affected. However, when exactly the operation is to be carried out is not only decided by the doctor alone, but also by the patient himself, i.e. together in close consultation. The main criterion is how much the person affected suffers from the decreasing visual acuity in their everyday life and how much the lens is already clouded.
Frequent driving or increased computer work in connection with cataracts are certainly reasons why an affected patient can be operated on faster than a patient who does not necessarily need full eyesight every day. For many, a slight clouding of the lens of the eye cannot be a decisive argument in favor of an eye operation. At the same time, however, there is no reason not to seek surgical help due to an advanced age.
Cataracts are often more insidious than abrupt, so that the strength of the eyesight slowly but steadily decreases. Not least for this reason, the impairment is not really noticed by some sick people. In the event of a check-up at the optician or ophthalmologist, this usually ends in a real surprise when it is discovered how much the eyesight has already decreased.
Cataracts and the course of the operation
Cataracts in both eyes often cause the surgeon to operate on the eye with the more severe damage first. The organ of vision is widened using special eye drops. In addition, a clip is inserted, which ensures that the eye remains open throughout the entire operation. It is individually possible to inject a local anesthetic next to the eye.
Step 1 of the OP:
The surgeon makes a small cut of around two to three millimeters on the cornea of the eye. This incision is used by the doctor as access to the area that needs to be operated on and thus opens the anterior capsule of the eye lens. Since this is such a small incision, it does not have to be sewn, because it closes itself again after the procedure.
Step 2 of the OP:
In this step, phacoemulsification takes place, i.e. the core of the lens and the cortex are liquefied by means of ultrasound. If the tissue has liquefied, the surgeon can completely suction it out of the organ of vision.
Step 3 of the OP:
In step three, the folded or rolled IOL is used by inserting it into the capsular bag through the tiny opening in the incision. For this purpose, the surgeon often leaves the lateral and rear eye lens capsules in the organ of vision, in which the artificial lens then unfolds to its full size. The implant is centered and anchored using the smallest retaining bracket in the posterior chamber lens (capsule oval).
Cataracts – Treatment after surgery
The surgically treated eye is covered by an ointment bandage for protection until the following day. If the cataract operation is carried out on an outpatient basis, the patient can return home after a few hours’ stay. In the case of inpatient surgery, on the other hand, the stay in the hospital amounts to two to three days.
So that the healing process can proceed as desired, the doctor prescribes anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops for about a month. These must be applied strictly according to the regulations. In addition, people who have had surgery do well if they are careful when washing their hair and showering. After the operation, contact with water should be avoided for a few days if possible. The same applies, of course, to soap and other care products for the face.
The healing process is closely monitored at regular, short intervals by an ophthalmologist. The intraocular pressure is also checked by using cortisone-based eye drops. Many operated patients can see much more clearly and better immediately after the operation. However, it must be mentioned that there may be fluctuations in vision, especially within the first few weeks. It takes some time until the doctor re-measures the eyesight and new glasses may be ordered.
You can find more information on the topic at https://www.aumedo.de/katarakt-grauer-star/.