Cataract Surgery Cost

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's naturally clear lens. The lens focuses light rays on the retina, the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of the eye, to produce a sharp image of what we see. When the lens becomes cloudy, light rays cannot pass through it easily, and vision is blurred.

The lens is made of mostly proteins and water. Clouding of the lens occurs due to changes in the proteins and lens fibers. The lens is composed of layers like an onion. The outermost is the capsule. The layer inside the capsule is the cortex, and the innermost layer is the nucleus. A cataract may develop in any of these areas and is described based on its location in the lens:

A Nuclear cataract is located in the center of the lens. The nucleus tends to darken changing from clear to yellow and sometimes brown.

A Cortical cataract affects the layer of the lens surrounding the nucleus. It is identified by its unique wedge or spoke appearance.

A Posterior capsular cataract is found in the back outer layer of the lens. This type often develops more rapidly.

What causes cataracts?

Cataract development is a normal process of aging, but cataracts also develop from eye injuries, certain diseases or medications. Your genes may also play a role in cataract development.

Patient history to determine vision difficulties experienced by the patient that may limit their daily activities and other general.

Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients such as lutein/zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases, including cataracts. Usually cataracts develop in both eyes, but one may be worse than the other.

Diagnosis of Cataracts

Cataracts can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. This examination may include:

Patient history to determine vision difficulties experienced by the patient that may limit their daily activities and other general health concerns affecting vision.

Visual acuity measurement to determine to what extent a cataract may be limiting clear vision at distance and near.

Refraction to determine the need for changes in an eyeglass or contact lens prescription.

Evaluation of the lens under high magnification and illumination to determine the extent and location of any cataracts.

Evaluation of the retina of the eye through a dilated pupil.

Measurement of pressure within the eye.

Supplemental testing for color vision and glare sensitivity.

How can a cataract be treated?

A cataract may not need to be treated if your vision is only slightly blurry. Simply changing your eyeglass prescription may help to improve your vision for a while. There are no medications, eye drops, exercises or glasses that will cause cataracts to disappear once they have formed. Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. When you are no longer able to see well enough to do the things you like to do, cataract surgery should be considered.

What is Cataract Surgery?

In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed from the eye through a surgical incision. In most cases, the natural lens is replaced with a permanent intraocular lens (IOL) implant.

What can I expect if I decide to have cataract surgery?

Before Surgery

To determine if your cataract should be removed, your ophthalmologist will perform a thorough eye examination. It is advisable to not wait for the cataract to mature i.e. become total as was previously believed because once mature, the cataract can raise the pressure of the eye resulting in lens induced glaucoma which can cause a permanent damage to the optic nerve. Before surgery, your eye will be measured to determine the proper power of the intraocular lens that will be placed in your eye.

The Day of Surgery

Surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis (day care surgery) in the hospital. When you arrive for surgery, you will be given eye drops and perhaps a mild sedative to help you relax. A local anesthetic will numb your eye. The skin around your eye will be thoroughly cleansed, and sterile coverings will be placed around your head. Your eye will be kept open by an eyelid speculum. You may see light and movement, but you will not be able to see the surgery while it is happening.

Surgery is performed under an operating microscope. The patient is usually awake, so any small movement such as a cough or simple head adjustment looks like an earthquake under the microscope. It's advisable to stay still & inform surgeon before you move head.

Cataract Surgery – How Do we do it!

Cataract surgery is easy in concept (the opaque natural lens is replaced with artificial lens), but actually performing this surgery is challenging as we're working under a surgical microscope with delicate ocular structures.

Two approaches to cataract surgery are generally used:

Small incision cataract surgery involves making an incision in the side of the cornea, the clear outer covering of the eye, and inserting a tiny probe into the eye. The probe emits ultrasound waves that soften and break-up the lens so it can be removed by suction. This process is called phacoemulsification.

Extracapsular surgery (Manual phaco) requires a somewhat larger incision in the cornea and the lens core is removed in one piece.

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