Cataract

Eye Doctors are the cataract surgery experts. With high quality training, a wealth of experience and modern technology, you can relax knowing that you will receive the best personalised care for your cataract operation.


Cataract Surgery

What is a cataract?

Like a camera, every eye has a lens. When the lens inside your eye clouds over it reduces the amount of light reaching the retina at the back of the eye. This makes it difficult for you to see clearly and is called a cataract. 


Why do cataracts develop?

Cataracts develop as a normal part of the aging process. By the age of 70 nearly everyone has some degree of cataract formation. Sometimes cataracts may develop at a younger age due to other diseases like diabetes, following an eye injury, or due to specific medications like steroids.

What are the main symptoms of a cataract?

The earliest symptoms can begin with glare and sensitivity to bright light or haloes around lights. Surprisingly, some people notice that near vision without glasses can improve with mild cataracts. Vision then typically becomes progressively more blurred, foggy, and sometimes doubled. Colours often become duller and darker.


  


What does cataract surgery involve?

Modern cataract surgery restores the eyesight lost due to cataract by removing the cloudy lens in the eye and replacing it with a clear artificial lens implant. Eye Doctors undertake this operation using the latest small incision techniques and most up to date equipment available to give the fastest recovery and best possible vision. Cataract surgery can be carried out under topical, local or (very rarely) general anaesthesia.

How long does cataract surgery take?

The procedure itself generally takes from ten to twenty minutes. You go home the same day, after spending two to three hours in hospital.

How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?

A patch may be is worn overnight following surgery and you are advised not to drive until given clearance by your surgeon, which is often the next day. Whilst rubbing your eye, very strenuous activity and swimming should be avoided for one week, you can resume most other activities straight away.

Is cataract surgery safe?

Removal of a cataract is the most common eye operation and one of the most common surgical procedures performed in New Zealand. It has a very high success rate due to the modern methods used by Eye Doctors. Like any operation there is a small risk of complications, during and after the surgery that your surgeon will discuss with you. It is important to contact Eye Doctors if you have any concerns about the eye following surgery.

What lenses are used?

A variety of intraocular lenses are available for people having a cataract operation with Eye Doctors. Only the best quality lenses are used. Just as there are different types of glasses (eg. single vision, bi-focal and progressive) there are different types of lenses that can be inserted into the eye during cataract surgery. 
The most common lenses used are single focus lenses, which give clear distance vision in both eyes but generally require glasses for close vision, like when reading. This same type of lens can be used for monovision (or blended vision), which is when one eye is focused for distance and the other eye for near, minimising the need for glasses. Alternative lens options include toric lenses, which correct astigmatism and multi-focal or accommodating lenses which have more than one focal point in each lense, allowing for distance as well as near sight in both eyes . Eye Doctors surgeons will discuss your options and recommend which lens is best for your requirements.



Example of a typical lens used by Eye Doctors surgeons

Is cataract surgery covered by insurance?

Yes, Eye Doctors are affiliated providers to Southern Cross which means that there is no need for prior approval, no money up front for surgery and Southern Cross pays Eye Doctors directly. Other insurance companies also routinely cover cataract surgery at Eye Doctors.


Posterior Capsule Opacity

What is a posterior capsule opacity?

In cataract surgery the cloudy lens inside the eye (the cataract) is removed. A thin membrane behind the cataract, known as the posterior capsule, is left behind to help hold the artificial intraocular lens implant in position. This posterior capsule may become cloudy in about 10% of people following cataract surgery. This is known as posterior capsule opacity (PCO).

Why does PCO develop?

In a few people PCO is present right from the time of the cataract surgery, depending on the type and duration of the cataract. More often, PCO develops gradually 1-2 years after surgery, as part of the healing process of the eye. PCO is more common in younger people who have had cataract surgery.

What are the main symptoms of a PCO?

PCO causes blurring of vision, and sometimes glare or double vision. Although a cataract can not recur after cataract surgery, the symptoms of PCO may be similar to those experienced prior to cataract surgery.

What does laser capsulotomy involve?

PCO is treated by a minor laser procedure known as laser capsulotomy. Your surgeon uses a YAG laser to make a small hole in the central part of the posterior capsule, behind the intraocular lens and pupil. It is performed in the consulting room, is painless and only takes a few minutes.


How long does it take to recover from laser capsulotomy?

Many people notice an immediate improvement in their vision after laser capsulotomy. Normal activities can be resumed straight away following the procedure, although you should check with your surgeon regarding driving.

Is laser capsulotomy safe?

Laser capsulotomy is a commonly performed procedure with an extremely high success rate, due to the modern methods and latest technology used by Eye Doctors. Many people notice small spots floating in their vision for a week or two afterwards. Like any procedure there is a risk of complications that your surgeon will discuss with you, however serious side effects are rare.