Cataract surgery techniques
In a healthy eye, the lens is completely transparent and refracts the light rays that enter the eye and 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, with reduced contrast. Often the patient has the impression that he is watching the world through a dirty glass.
Initially, the cloudy lens was completely removed using an intracapsular technique, often with the aid of a cryoextractor. The operation required cutting the eye “in half” to remove the entire cloudy lens. After the procedure, the patient required correction with glasses with a strength of plus 10 diopters, and sometimes even more. It was then that glasses that looked like “bottle bottoms” were worn. Currently, it is used exceptionally, in the case of large lens subluxations.
The revolution in cataract treatment came with the introduction of extracapsular surgery techniques. During the operation, part of the patient’s own lens – the back capsule – was left behind. A long 10-millimeter incision of the eye was made and at the end of the procedure the wound had to be sutured with a suture thinner than a hair. This resulted in a long healing process and often postoperative astigmatism. Currently, the classic extracapsular technique is used only in a few cases.
Implantation of an artificial lens. Extracapsular
techniques have made it possible to implant artificial implants in place of opaque natural lenses during surgery. The first artificial intraocular lenses began to be produced in the United States. Initially, they were so expensive that only a few patients could afford them. Over time, they became more and more available. We have been implanting lenses in Głogów since 1994.
Another revolution in cataract surgery took place after the introduction of a new method of extracapsular surgery, the so-called phacoemulsification. (Phaco in Greek for lens). This technique consists in making three minimal incisions in the cornea and inserting a special tool – phacoemulsifier into the eye. With its help, the old, cloudy lens is broken with ultrasound or a stream of liquid, and then the fragmented masses are sucked out. Thanks to this, a lens with a diameter of 12 mm can be removed through a tunnel in the cornea, which is only about 2-3 mm in diameter, and in this place an artificial lens rolled into a roll is inserted. The implant develops and takes the correct shape in the eye. A specially constructed wound and its sealing at the end of the procedure with a special fluid allows you to avoid stitches. A small incision also allows for quick healing and rehabilitation. After this type of surgery, the resulting astigmatism is avoided. The entire procedure is performed under an operating microscope. The operation takes up to 15-20 minutes and the patient returns home the same day. After a month, it is considered that the eye is sufficiently cured so that the necessary glasses can be selected.
Each year, about five hundred cataract surgeries are performed in our center, while in the whole country, each year cataracts are operated on in 150,000 patients. It is the most common surgery in the world. In our clinic, high-class, experienced ophthalmologists specializing in cataract surgeries perform treatments on technologically advanced, state-of-the-art equipment. In recent years, the cataract surgery technique has developed significantly. Thanks to this, the time of the operation, the safety and comfort of the patient’s life also improved. As one of the first in Poland, we started to operate the lens using the Constellation phacoemulsifier from the American company Alcon. Most cataract procedures are performed using the OZIL head. Thanks to this, almost all operations are performed through a micro-incision and there is no need to put postoperative sutures on the wound, which speeds up and results in better eye healing and minimizes the risk of postoperative astigmatism associated with suturing the wound. Rehabilitation time is much shorter than with other methods. As standard – for several years we have also been using Alcon’s Custom Pack – a set of disposable tools and materials that ensures high operational safety.
During cataract surgery, an implant-artificial lens is implanted into the eye. The result of the surgery is largely related not only to the selected surgery technique and the course of the surgery itself, but also depends on the type of the implanted lens. Currently, in the world, as well as in our clinic, implants are selected individually for the patient: depending on the patient’s lifestyle, eye structure, visual impairment before surgery, and depending on his visual needs. In our clinic we have above-standard PREMIUM lenses. These lenses are collectively called AcrySof®.
The only effective method of cataract treatment is surgery and replacing the cloudy lens with an artificial lens implant.
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