Know more about Cataract Surgery, its advantages and disadvantages

cataract treatment
cataract treatment

The clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye, because proteins and fibres in the lens begin to break down, causing vision to become hazy or cloudy, is a medical condition referred to as cataract.

Mostly age related, cataract can be caused by diabetes, excessive smoking, drinking alcohol, obesity, certain medication, overexposure to sunlight, radiation and inherited genetic factors can increase your risk of cataracts.

Across the world, cataract is considered to be one of the main causes of blindness. The World Health Organization estimates that cataracts affect approximately 65.2 million people and causes moderate to severe vision loss in over 80% cases.

Diagnosing Cataract

To diagnose whether you have a cataract, your ophthalmologist will review your symptoms and medical history and perform an examination of both your eyes. The tests will include

Visual acuity test: An eye chart is used to gauge how clearly you can see a series of letters on it. Your eyes will be tested one at a time to determine if your vision shows signs of impairment

Slit-lamp examination: A slit lamp is used by your ophthalmologist to magnify the structures of your eye. It uses an intense line of light – a slit, to illuminate your cornea, iris, lens, and the space between your iris and cornea to view and detect any abnormalities

Retinal exam. Your pupils are dilated using eye drops so that the doctor can examine the back of your eyes (retina). Using an ophthalmoscope, the doctor can examine your lens for signs of a cataract.

Applanation tonometry. This test measures fluid pressure in your eye. There are multiple different devices available to do this.

Cataract treatment – surgery

Once a diagnosis is made, most ophthalmologists recommend a cataract surgery when the cataract begin to affect your quality of life or interfere with your ability to perform normal daily activities, such as reading or driving at night. Since cataract is known to worsen faster in people who are diabetic, obese or hypertensive, the doctor will suggest an appropriate course of action.

Having established the need for surgery, the doctor will inform you that there are two types of cataract surgeries

Traditional Cataract Surgery: It is one of the most common surgeries in the world. It is recognized as being safe and effective

Laser-assisted Cataract Surgery: In certain situations, the doctor may recommend a laser assisted surgery.

It is up to your doctor to determine which of the two would be ideal in your case. You can always take a second opinion if you wish.

Cataract Surgery

Before surgery, the ophthalmic use a surgeon will use a local anaesthetic to numb the area around your eye. The surgical procedure involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens, which is made of plastic, silicone, or acrylic. The artificial lens is positioned in the same place as your natural lens and becomes a permanent part of your eye.

Advantages of Cataract Surgery

  • Cataract surgery is a simple procedure
  • It is a painless surgery and you will be awake during the surgery
  • The tiny incision allows for a very fast discharge and speedy recovery
  • The cut is so small so there no suturing
  • The patient does not need to stay in the hospital after surgery
  • There is no need to use an eye patch.
  • The surgery, if performed by an expert at a reliable centre, is riskless
  • Complete healing generally occurs within a few weeks
  • It benefits the patient by improving vision and quality of life and thereby allowing mobility of the patient

Disadvantages of Cataract Surgery

Though the chances of any issues post-surgery are minimal, much depends on surgical expertise, technology used and the after-surgery protocol that you are advised to follow. Some complications of cataract surgery are:

  • Eye infection
  • Reduced vision, because of lens capsule tearing
  • Fragment left over, which might require you another operation
  • Retina damage and implant dislocation
  • Inflammations
  • Retinal detachment — the breaking away of a layer of tissue at the back of your eye that senses light
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Temporary rise in eye pressure 12-24 hours after surgery

Cataract surgery is not inexpensive, but the chance of regaining excellent vision is a motivation to consult a doctor and get the treatment going.

After Cataract Surgery

For a few days, your eye may itch or feel sore. You may also have a little tearing and find it hard to see well in bright light. It is advisable to keep your glares on bright light during this period. Your doctor will prescribe eyedrops to prevent infection. You’ll need to take it every few hours, as recommended for a few days, and take it easy.

What is LASIK Surgery and how should a patient prepare for it?

lasik surgery & treatment
lasik surgery & treatment

LASIK eye surgery is easily the most commonly performed laser refractive surgery to correct faulty vision.

LASIK is the short form for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. It a procedure that permanently changes the shape of the cornea, the clear covering of the front of the eye, using an excimer laser. The surgery is recommended to correct vision in people who are near-sighted (myopia), or far-sighted (hyperopia), or have astigmatism.

In eyes with normal vision, the cornea bends (refracts) light precisely onto the retina at the back of the eye. But with myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism, the light is bent incorrectly, resulting in blurred vision.

Once the surgery is done, light focuses correctly on the retina, in the back of your eye, making vision clearer.

LASIK Procedure

During a LASIK surgery, a femtosecond laser is used to cut a flap in the cornea. The special type of cutting laser is programmed to precisely cut a thin flap of the cornea at the front of your eye. The flap is peeled back and another laser is used to reshape the tissue underneath. Pulses from a computer-controlled laser vaporize a portion of the stroma and the flap is then put back in place. The flap usually heals without any stitches.

During the surgery, you will be requested to focus on a point of light. Staring at this point helps to keep your eye fixed while the laser reshapes your cornea.

The above process takes between 20 – 30 minutes and can be performed under local anaesthesia (eye drops) that will numb the area. You will generally be awake during the surgery and can leave the clinic/ hospital in an hour or two.

Is LASIK Surgery right for you?

While LASIK surgery is good for a patient who wants to reduce her or his dependence on spectacles, there are certain conditions where it may not be the ideal procedure to undergo.

LASIK is not advisable for a person who is under the age of 18. Ophthalmic surgeons prefer to wait till a patient is over 21 years of age, so the eye has achieved the level of maturity desired before undergoing a surgical procedure.

LASIK is also not advised after the age of 40 because with advancing age, there may be a need to use reading glasses, so the purpose would be redundant.

LASIK is also not recommended for power above -10 to -12D as this can lead to significant corneal weakness, leading to problems later on

The surgery is not recommended if the patient is pregnant or nursing

LASIK is not advisable for a person who is taking certain medications

It is not recommended if the patient has had several recent changes in the vision prescription

Patients with thin or uneven corneas should not have LASIK surgery

LASIK is not advisable for people with eye conditions such as glaucoma or very dry eyes or other health issues such as diabetes, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis

How to prepare for LASIK surgery

Find the right LASIK surgeon – It is important that you do your homework well and find the right surgeon to do your surgery. Check for prior experience and expertise in this kind of surgery. Check if the right kind of equipment is being used, whether it as per globally accepted standards. Clear all the questions that you have in your mind and be sure that you get answers that satisfy you.

Pre LASIK evaluation is extremely important. Corneal thickness, corneal maps, pupil diameter, eye dryness, muscle balance etc. must be checked and they all need to be normal before even considering LASIK surgery

Share you complete medical history with your doctor – Be sure to disclose any medical illness, medication or allergies that you may be having

Stop wearing contact lenses a week to 10 days before the surgery, depending on the kind of contacts you use. You will need to wear spectacles instead, during this period.  You doctor will guide you regarding this.

Abstain from alcohol or caffeine – Drinking alcohol or caffeine before LASIK surgery can be dehydrating. There are chances that it will interfere with medications used for the procedure, so refrain from alcohol on the day of surgery.

Eat a light meal on the day of your surgery, before going in, and take all of your prescribed medications

No makeup – Do not use eye makeup on the day of the surgery. Wash your eyes well before leaving home.

Post operation transportation – Though you will be discharged in a short time after the surgery, you will not be allowed to drive. So be sure to arrange for transport to take you home.

You will need to put eye drops at frequent regular intervals. If you can get someone to help you with this in the first couple of days, it would be ideal.

Stay away from very bright lights and glare for a few days. If possible, stay at home and rest your eye for two or three days at least.

Don’t swim or use very hot bath water for 2 weeks after surgery

Be mentally prepared, because A) You will be awake during the procedure B) Your normal routine will have to change for a few days, while your eye heals from the surgery and things get back to normal C) Until your eyes get normal, be prepared for a little discomfort and a little blurry vision in the initial stages after the surgery. Your doctor will brief you regarding follow up visits and other protocol that you must follow. Meanwhile, relax.

What ‘to do’ and ‘not to do’ after you undergo LASIK eye surgery

lasik surgery
lasik surgery

Our eyes are the most sensitive organs in our body that provide us with vision. Often, this crucial organ develops errors that interfere with our vision and we have to use prescription spectacles or contact lenses to correct the problem. However, these are external aids and can often be inconvenient. LASIK eye surgery can be the answer to the problem.

Who benefits from LASIK surgery?

Patients who have a refractive error – when the eye does not refract/ bend light accurately for good vision need this surgery.  To have clear vision, light rays must travel through the cornea and lens. The cornea and lens refract light so it lands on the retina. The retina then converts light into signals that travel to your brain and become images. When the eye has a refractive error, the shape of the cornea or lens does not allow light to bend properly, resulting in blurry vision.

Why LASIK Surgery?

LASIK is a type of refractive surgery for the eye. LASIK surgery uses a particular type of laser to surgically correct vision problems caused by refractive errors. The procedure is done by reshaping the cornea of the eye, to properly focus the light on the retina of the eye.

The laser technique corrects farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism, of patients who meet the criteria for the procedure. However, after the Lasik eye surgery, proper care must be taken to avoid any infection or complications that might set in.

The Dos and Don`ts after the Lasik surgery

Since the eye is a very sensitive organ, adequate care must be taken to ensure that it is protected – particularly when it is healing after a LASIK surgery, when you might experience irritation or tearing. Here are a few dos and don’ts that you must know before you undertake the procedure, so you are prepared, well in advance.


Your doctor will prescribe eye drops which are to be used at a regular frequency, after the surgery. Use the eye drops, as requested.

Keep your eyelids shut for at least 4 to 5 minutes after using the eye drops.

Before applying the eye ointment (if any), eye drops are to be used

Dab the edges of your eyelid very gently, with sterile tissues

Blink regularly to moisten your eye

For the first few days, wash and clean your face carefully, avoiding any contact with the eyes

Wash your hands well before bringing them anywhere close to your eyes

Cover your eyes with clean sunglasses while stepping out in the sun and pollution

Do arrange for someone to keep your phone safe while you are in the OT. Phones will not be allowed inside this area.

You can read books and watch TV from the very next day of the LASIK surgery

You can have a normal diet

Once you get home after the surgery, get some rest in a dark room

Do arrange for a vehicle to take you to the hospital for your Day 1 follow up with the surgeon


Don’t bare your eyes to smoke, pet fur, dust and pollution for a few days

Don’t wash your hair for a couple of days after the LASIK surgery

Don’t rub your eyes or touch your eyes with dirty hands.

Don’t splash water into the eyes for at least a week post the surgery.

Don’t use tap water to clean your eyes.

Don’t swim or get into a hot tub for about one month post the surgery.

Don’t use eye makeups for at least two weeks post the surgery.

Don’t exercise for at least 1 week after the surgery.

Don’t put stress on your eyes by sitting in front of the computer screen for at least three days after the surgery.

Don’t self-drive any vehicle for at least one week after the surgery Don’t hesitate to inform your eye doctor if you are in need of any help or any answers.

What is cataract? What are its causes and symptoms?

cataract symptoms
cataract symptoms

Cataract is a condition that affects the eye over a period of time. Typically, it occurs when protein clumps up in the form of a thin film in the eye, clouding the lens and reducing the amount of light that reaches the retina. This is because the lens of the eye is composed mostly of water and proteins. Over time, as proteins break down, they stay on in the eye. These lingering proteins make the lens cloudy, and as a result, clear vision is impaired. As time passes, the cataract gets more severe and clouds more of the lens.

The lens is clear in a patient who does not have cataract. For proper sight, light passes through a clear lens which lies behind the iris (colored part of the eye). The lens focuses the light on the retina. Then the brain and eye coordinate to process information in the form of a picture. When cataract clouds over the lens, the eye cannot focus light in the ideal way, so the image, or picture that is seen is blurred or foggy.

Cataracts, affect different parts of the lens and are classified under:

  • Posterior subcapsular cataracts
  • Nuclear cataracts in the center of the lens
  • Cortical cataracts on the side of the lens, which appear as small streaks

Most cataracts are age-related — they occur as we get older. As per the National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey India, 2015-19, cataract has been identified as the leading cause of blindness in people above 50 years. However, cataract is a condition that is treatable if diagnosed and surgically removed in time.

Types of cataracts

There are five predominant types of cataracts and the treatment for each type is cataract surgery.

  1. Age -related cataract: This is the most common type of cataract. It appears with the onset of age.
  2. Traumatic cataract: This type of cataract is caused by serious eye injuries which have caused damage your lens. The cataract might form soon after the injury, or, in some cases, many years later
  3. Radiation cataract: It can be caused by certain types of radiation including ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and radiation treatment for cancer
  4. Pediatric cataract: This type is usually congenital and occurs at birth or in early childhood. Although rare, they are usually genetic
  5. Secondary cataract: Sometimes, after cataract surgery, the patient may develop a condition called secondary cataract or posterior capsule opacification. The condition makes their vision cloudy again. This condition is also called after-cataract and is quite common.

What causes cataract?

In addition to age, certain other factors are known to cause cataract. These include:

  1. Health problems, like diabetes: Although the reasons are not fully understood, people with diabetes mellitus statistically face a 60% greater risk of developing cataracts
  2. Cigarette smoking: Doctors believe smoking contributes to cataracts by altering the cells of the lens through oxidation. There is also evidence that smoking leads to the accumulation of heavy metals like cadmium in the lens. Research has found that smokers have double the risk of developing cataracts compared with non-smokers. This risk is triple for heavy smokers.
  3. Too much alcohol: Several studies have indicated increased cataract formation in patients with higher alcohol consumption. Moderate to low consumption, however is not known to lead to cataract.
  4. Obesity: Obesity can cause cortical cataracts, a condition where light is scattered by a defective lens, and the adipose tissue present in excess weight releases a chemical called leptin, which is a source of oxidative stress that can damage the eye
  5. High Blood PressureOphthalmologists believe that High blood pressure is known to cause elevated inflammation, which may result in cataracts over time.
  6. High myopia: Research reveals that individuals with early onset of high myopia are more likely to develop cataracts in their later years. The increasing axial eyeball length in myopic eyes may prevent nutrient delivery to the rear side of the lenses. As a result, the lenses lose their clarity and begin forming cataracts.
  7. Family history of cataracts: Individuals with close blood relatives who have had cataracts are more likely to develop cataracts than those with no family history.
  8. Eye injury, eye surgery:  Trauma to the eye, caused by a blunt or penetrating object, electric shock, chemical burns or ionizing radiation can lead to traumatic cataract even years after the injury
  9. Radiation treatment on your upper body: The lens of the eye is one of the most radiosensitive tissues in the body. Exposure to ionizing radiation treatment above the torso can cause cataract formation which can develop over a span of a few years to decades
  10. Spending a lot of time in the sun: Frequent, direct exposure to sunlight causes the proteins of the eyes’ natural lenses to start clumping together. Over time, this forms a cataract
  11. Prolonged use of steroids (medicines used to treat a variety of health problems, like arthritis and rashes): Long-term consumption or high-doses of steroids can promote cataract formation. Individuals taking a combination of oral and inhaled steroids are at the highest risk

What are the symptoms of cataract?

Cataract can manifest itself in several ways. The most common symptoms of cataracts include

  1. Blurred vision: Cloudy, misty, blurry, foggy or filmy images
  2. Double vision: The person sees a double image where there should only be one. The two images can be side by side, on top of one another, or both
  3. Increased intolerance to glare: Sensitivity to bright sunlight, lamps, torches or headlights
  4. Appearance of halos around lit objects: Clouding of the lens can cause diffraction of light entering the eye, which means a person with cataract may see halos around light sources
  5. Faded appearance of colors: When protein deposits accumulate on the eye’s crystalline lens and turn it opaque, vision which was once clear becomes cloudy and colors which were once bright begin to fade

Poor night time vision: As cataracts become more advanced, they take a yellow or brown tinge and affects night vision. This makes nighttime activities such as driving difficult.