Ipoh Echo’s Eye Health series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. Gill, who gives us a final checklist on cataracts.
Cataracts occur when the normally transparent natural lens in our eye becomes cloudy. In Malaysia, cataracts are the leading cause of poor vision in patients above the age of 55.
Some causes of cataracts:
- Aging: The commonest cause. Occurs in every person at some stage of life
- Secondary cataracts: Due to diabetes, steroid drugs, radiation, UV exposure.
- Trauma: Injury by blunt objects & sharp ones.
- Congenital cataracts. Babies may be born with cataracts due to infection or injury.
Symptoms may be:
- Blurry vision is commonest. Sometimes described as foggy, filmy, or cloudy.
- Hard time seeing at night, glare, hazy in bright sunlight.
- Colours seem washed-out and dull.
- “Second-sight of aging”: paradoxical improvement in near vision which may be a sign of early cataract.
- Frequent change of spectacles, dissatisfied with new spectacles.
Cataract Eye Examination
- Vision check, eyelid and front of eye check, eye pressure check, then dilating your pupils with eye-drops for the full cataract and retina (nerve at back of eye) examination.
- Remember: Takes 30 to sometimes 90 minutes (especially 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.
Choosing your Artificial Lens (Intraocular Lens or IOL)
- Monofocal: Commonly used. Affordable. Improves vision for only distance.
- Astigmatism-correcting monofocals: Treats Astigmatism and distant vision.
- Presbyopia correcting: Corrects Near & Far vision. Pricy but worth it.
- Presbyopia & Astigmatism correcting: Corrects Near, Far & Astigmatism.
- (All lens types are subject to suitability – best to discuss with doctor.)
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 is best.
- Review all medications: Check with surgeon to see which ones need to be stopped temporarily during surgery.
- Eating and drinking: find out whether op under Local or General Anaesthesia.
- Hygiene: Wash face thoroughly, no cosmetics or eyeliners, hair-wash. Inform eye surgeon if your eye is red with any unusual eye discharge on morning of op or if you feel unwell for any reason.
On the Day of Surgery
- Remember: To fast from water & food if surgery planned under General Anaesthesia (G.A.) Light meal if surgery under Local Anaesthesia (L.A.)
- First, eyelids will be cleaned and eye-drops instilled until pupils fully dilated.
- If under L.A., eye-drops to numb the eye will be instilled. You are fully awake during the surgery. Cooperate with surgeon by not moving head during the 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. If not on eye pad but on eye shield, you will need to instil eye-drops. Follow all instructions given strictly.
After the Cataract Surgery
Remember to strictly instil eye-drops regularly as instructed; Inform eye surgeon immediately if you develop any eye pain, undue redness or blurring vision; Do not miss any postoperative appointments given to you; Do not rub your eye or wet your eye; Keep the eyelid area clean and avoid eye make-up until instructed; Never stick your fingers into the corners of your eye; Avoid heavy exercise, swimming, prolonged computer use, excessive smoking or alcohol intake; Wear sunglasses when you go outdoors under the sun; Be patient as healing duration may vary from person to person depending on age, health and associated conditions like diabetes, etc.
May you have a speedy recovery with a good visual outcome!
For more information, contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at 05-5455582, email: email@example.com or visit www.fatimah.com.my.