By Dr S.S. Gill
Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL, giving us a final CHECKLIST on CATARACT.
In Malaysia, cataract is the leading cause of poor vision in patients above the age of 55 years. Cataract occurs when the normally transparent natural lens in our eye becomes cloudy.
Aging: Commonest cause. Occurs in every person at some stage.
Secondary cataracts: Due to diabetes, steroids, radiation, UV exposure.
Trauma: Injury by blunt objects & sharp ones.
Congenital: Babies born with cataracts.
SYMPTOMS MAY BE:
Blurry vision is commonest. Sometimes described as foggy, filmy or cloudy.
Colours seem washed-out and dull.
“Second-sight of aging”: paradoxical improvement in near vision!
Frequent change of spectacles, dissatisfied with new spectacles
CATARACT EYE EXAMINATION:
Vision check, front of eye check, eye pressure check, then dilating your pupils with eyedrops for the full cataract and retina (nerve at back of eye) examination.
Remember: It takes 30 to sometimes 90 mins (for diabetics) to dilate pupils.
Be prepared for the wait! Bring sunglasses with you to wear after eye check.
Check eyes annually after 40 years of age especially if diabetic.
PREPARING FOR CATARACT SURGERY:
Arrange time from work: avoid unfinished business that may distract rest.
Arrange for a driver: this is always helpful. If staying very far, ward stay best.
Review all medications: confirm which need to be stopped temporarily.
Eating and drinking: find out whether op under Local or General anaesthesia.
Hygiene: wash face thoroughly, no cosmetics or eyeliners, hair-wash.
Inform doctor if eye is red with any unusual eye discharge on morning of operation or if you feel unwell for any reason.
ON THE DAY OF SURGERY:
Remember: Fast from water & food if surgery planned under General Anesthesia (G.A.) Light meal if surgery under Local Anaesthesia (L.A.)
If under L.A., eyedrops to numb the eye will be instilled. You are awake during the surgery. Cooperate with surgeon by not moving head during surgery.
If under G.A., you will be unconscious during the surgery.
After surgery, once you have been given a meal, you may go home to rest.
If the eye is padded, do not remove it or get it wet.
AFTER THE CATARACT SURGERY:
Remember to strictly instil eyedrops regularly as instructed.
Inform doctor if you have any eye pain, undue redness or blurring vision.
Do not rub or wet your eye. Keep eyelids clean. Avoid eye make-up.
Never stick your fingers into the corners of your eye.
Avoid heavy exercise, swimming, prolonged computer use, alcohol.
Be patient as healing duration may vary from person to person depending on age, health and associated conditions like diabetes, etc.