We carry out over 1500 cataract surgeries annually. We have been helping to regain perfect eyesight in our VITA-MED Ophthalmology Clinic for nearly 20 years. Before you become our patient, get to know the details of the disease and the operation. What is cataract and how it is treated is explained by Dr. Ewa Bobińska-Kachnowicz, a specialist in eye diseases, from the VITA-MED Eye Clinic.
We want to see well – there is no one who would not need it. Untreated cataracts can lead to complete blindness. Each cataract is therefore an indication for surgical treatment – there is no other method of treating this disease. Every human being is affected by the aging of the eye lens. In cataracts, only surgery will restore good vision.
Cataract surgery is the safest procedure on the human body. It is gentle, performed under local anesthesia – it does not burden the patient. Cataracts can be removed at any age, although I recommend performing such an operation when the aging process of the lens begins to interfere with everyday functioning. You can then use modern implants and get rid of additional eye defects. The oldest operated patient in our clinic was 105 years old. After the first eye was operated on, he immediately wanted to schedule the operation for the second eye.
Cataracts are painless and gradually progressive. An indication for surgery appears when it begins to disturb. Let’s not wait until vision in a healthy eye deteriorates.
Dr. Ewa Bobińska-Kachnowicz
Cataract – what is it?
A cataract is a disease of the eye’s lens – the flexible structure inside the eye. With age, the lens becomes cloudy in its entirety or in its different parts, hardens, and loses its elasticity.
Cloudiness leads to a loss of clarity, which may result in reduced vision or complete loss of vision. In a healthy eye, the lens is completely transparent. Rays of light falling into the eye refract on the retina. As a result, a clear image of the observed object is created. Clouding of the lens causes the image to become blurry, blurry, distorted or split, and may have reduced contrast. Often the patient has the impression that he is watching the world through a dirty glass. The patient loses his eyesight gradually and may not feel the changes because he is adapting to the different vision.
Cataracts can be of four stages, resulting in different symptoms in patients. The rate of disease progression and the loss of visual acuity associated with it may vary. Cataract surgery is best performed in the second and third stage of the disease.
How is cataract treated?
The progress of cataracts can be slowed down by drops available on the market, but they do not have a very good effect. There are also no effective tablets and injections for cataracts. The only effective method of treatment is surgical treatment, which consists in removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial implant. If the patient does not suffer from other eye diseases, the removal of the opaque lens brings very good results – the improvement of vision the very next day after the surgery. The safest and painless method of cataract treatment is phacoemulsification.
The only effective method of cataract treatment is surgery and replacing the cloudy lens with an artificial lens implant.
Are there any contraindications to the procedure?
Cataracts cannot be operated with inflammation in the eye. When deciding on the procedure, we take into account the general health of the patient. Rarely, there are contraindications for the procedure due to the general health condition, as it does not require general anesthesia and long convalescence. The general health status, including information about possible comorbidities, influences the choice of the type of anesthesia and allows the anesthesiologist to consider what medications can be administered and which could be dangerous. Certain cataract stages and comorbidities affect the decision when to operate.
How to prepare for the procedure?
The day before the operation, drops are used. The operation is preceded by an ophthalmological examination and a visit to the anaesthesiologist. A series of tests allows you to select a safe method of anesthesia and the best implant for a given patient.
The more detailed the tests are, the higher the safety of the procedure and the higher the results obtained. Before the surgery, each patient receives detailed information on how to behave before, during and after the surgery. There is also an interview explaining the most important issues related to what to expect and what is the risk of the procedure.
On the day of the procedure, it is good to ensure the care and help of another person.
What does cataract surgery look like?
Cataract surgery at the VITA-MED Ophthalmology Clinic is performed in the so-called one-day surgery. The patient stays in the clinic for about 5-6 hours, in the operating room for about 30 minutes, and the procedure itself lasts 15-20 minutes.
Your cooperation at every stage of preparation and performance of the treatment, and following the recommendations after the treatment, increases the chances of obtaining satisfactory results.
What are the recommendations after cataract surgery?
The operated person can walk independently and perform basic activities. After the procedure, the eye will be covered with a dressing. The other eye’s poor visual acuity in many cases and the medications administered make it difficult to function independently on this day. Driving is not allowed and public transport should be avoided. Heavy physical work as well as sudden movements, bending, lifting and being in a contaminated environment should be avoided. Postoperative ophthalmic care lasts about a month. During this time, the patient uses the drops.
What are the effects of cataract surgery?
The vision restoration is quick. The improvement in visual acuity is noticeable the very next day after the procedure. Vision stabilizes in about a month because this is how long the healing process takes.
May I need to have cataract surgery again?
We operate cataracts once in a lifetime. The so-called Secondary cataract is not a valid term. Then the posterior capsule in the eye becomes cloudy. During cataract surgery, the entire lens is not removed – the bag is left behind as it holds the artificial implant. When the bag becomes cloudy, a gentle laser treatment that restores the clarity of vision helps.
What is the risk of untreated cataracts?
A cloudy lens makes it difficult to examine and diagnose the back of the eye. As a result, they cannot be effectively treated, among others diseases of the retina and diseases of the optic nerve. Loss of vision can be the most dangerous consequence of untreated cataracts.
Should I operate a cataract privately or on the National Health Fund?
When deciding to perform the procedure at the VITA-MED Ophthalmology Clinic privately, the patient has the option to choose the date and the option of choosing an implant. The procedure is carried out at an earlier date than at the National Health Fund, and the results, due to the wide selection of the implant, may not be better.