Cataract is a cloudiness or opacity in the normally transparent crystalline lens of the eye. The human lens is transparent so that light can travel through it easily. With opacification of the lens, it can no longer transmit a clear picture to the retina where it can be processed and sent through the optic nerve to the brain. The vast majority of cataracts are related to age (Senile cataract). Cataract is a very good example of curable blindness as vision restoration after a Cataract surgery is almost invariably excellent.
At Sankara, Cataract surgeries are carried out every day both on Walk-in, paying patients and non-paying patients brought through Outreach camps. For walk-in patients, the surgery is carried out as a Day-care intervention while patients brought from Outreach locations are discharged after review, one day after the surgery and dropped back to their villages. Operated patients are reviewed after one week and again after 30 days. For walk-in patients the review happens at the Hospital while for non-paying segment, the reviews are carried out at the Outreach camp location.
It is our firm belief that no one should live with curable blindness merely because they cannot afford the cost of surgery. While Outreach cases are treated free of cost, in the case of those walk-in patients who cannot afford the full cost of a surgery, we offer upto 70% subsidy to help them undergo surgery.
What is Cataract?
Cataract surgery Cataract is a cloudiness or opacity in the normally transparent crystalline lens of the eye. The human lens is transparent so that light can travel through it easily. With opacification of the lens, it can no longer transmit a clear picture to the retina where it can be processed and sent through the optic nerve to the brain. The vast majority of cataracts are related to age (Senile cataract). A few years after surgery the natural lens bag in which the IOL has been fixed can become opacified due to proliferation of cells within it. This can affect vision. This treated with a simple YAG laser procedure in the OPD itself.
Cataract Cataract may be present at birth or in early childhood (congenital or developmental) or may occur due to injury to the eye or may be due to prolonged use of certain drugs (like steroids). Cataracts are 10 times more common in diabetic patients than in the general population.
The early signs of cataract are blurring of distant vision, which may result in frequent change in glasses, increased glare specially experienced at nights while driving or an inability to face light on the face and colors appearing dull. Patients feel as if they are seeing things through a smoke screen.
Factors have been identified as possibly increasing the risk of cataract in adultsare aging, long-term exposure to sunlight, smoking or any form of tobacco use, high cholesterol, diabetes, eye injury and drugs like steroids. Patients above the age of 50 or any adult with these risk factors are advised yearly check up by an ophthalmologist.
Symptoms of Cataract
- Clouded, blurred or dim vision
- Sensitivity to bright sunlight, lamps or headlights
- Glare (seeing a halo around lights), especially when you drive at night with oncoming headlights
- Prescription changes in glasses, including sudden nearsightedness.
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Double vision
- Need for brighter light to read
Treatment of Cataract
Surgical removal of cataracts and replacement with an artificial lens (called an intraocular lens) is the only cure for this condition. There is no medical treatment for cataract. Worldwide, it is the most successful surgical procedure.
There are two types of procedures to remove cataracts:
Phacoemulsification cataract surgery Phacoemulsification is the most common procedure for cataracts. The ophthalmologist makes a small opening in the eye to reach the clouded lens. Using high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) or a laser, the ophthalmologist breaks the lens into pieces. Then the doctor suctions lens fragments from your eye and puts in a new Intraocular lens.
Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery SICS is a sutureless cataract surgery. In this type of surgery, the incision size is larger than in Phaco surgeries. Usually, rigid IOLs are implanted unlike Phaco, where foldable IOLs are implanted