A cataract is caused by clouding or opacity of the natural lens within the eye. This lens is suspended within the centre of the eyeball which consists mostly of water and protein. As we age the lens oxidises and changes colour resulting in blurred vision, glare and a loss of contrast sensitivity in dark or shadowy conditions.
Skillful microsurgical techniques using ultrasound can surgically remove the lens and replace it with an optically advanced polymer which improves the focus.
As with all surgery there are risks involved. These risks, as described below, are important to understand and individuals should always seek qualified expert opinions before undergoing microsurgery to the eye.
Private Hospital Insurance: Brisbane Eye Clinic surgeons provide NO GAP Cataract surgery for patients with the appropriate private health insurance. This means that patients will not have to pay any additional costs for the surgeon’s fee.
Uninsured Pensioner: We offer uninsured pensioners concessional day surgery at private day stay facilities – Peninsula Private Hospital, Kippa Ring and River City Day Hospital, Auchenflower. The cost for each operation is $2250 plus Medicare rebates. This covers the facility, staff, surgeon, anaesthetist, operation drapes, dressings, disposables, monofocal intraocular lens and implantation gel.
Uninsured Non Pensioner: We also provide uninsured non pensioners a surgery package at private day stay facilities – Peninsula Private Hospital, Kippa Ring and River City Day Hospital, Auchenflower. The cost for each operation is $3000 plus Medicare rebates. This covers the facility, staff, surgeon, anaesthetist, operation drapes, dressings, disposables, monofocal intraocular lens and implantation gel.
The symptoms of a cataract vary from minimal to marked disability and include:
- Cloudy or blurred vision
- Problems with glare and image halos around Objects
- Poor night vision for driving
- Colours faded and washed out
- Frequent prescription changes in your glasses or contact lenses
The early symptoms of cataract may be improved with a new glasses prescription, brighter lighting, sunglasses or magnifying lenses. If these measures do no not help then surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens.
The decision to operate on your cataract is made only after careful consideration.
Sometimes a cataract should be removed even if it does not interfere with your vision. For example a cataract should be removed if it prevents examination or treatment of another eye problem such as macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. You should discuss your options with your ophthalmologist.
Modern cataract surgery is a day procedure and is performed under local anaesthesia. You will be required to fast prior to your surgery, this means no food or drink whatsoever for at least six hours prior to your arrival to the day hospital. You may take your normal medications with a sip of water. Diabetic medication should not be taken on day of surgery but bring it with you to the hospital.
After arrival to the hospital and before the surgery a series of drops will be placed in your eye. The anaesthetist will see you before the surgery. to arrange the anaesthetic to numb your eye. Normally with intravenous sedation and a series of anaesthetic eye drops.
The skin around your eye will be thoroughly cleansed and sterile coverings will be placed around your head. A small incision, less the 3mm, is made and a small instrument is entered into the eye which uses high pitched ultrasound vibrations to break the cataract into smaller pieces which are then removed by suction. This process is called Phakoemulsification. The intraocular lens implant is then inserted into the eye through the same wound and positioned behind the iris. Usually no stitches are required as the small wound self seals.
The final step is to administer antibiotics to help prevent infection and your eyelid may be taped. You will then be moved to a recovery area in the hospital where you will be monitored for a period of time. Most people can go home within two or three hours.
You will need someone to drive you home. For your own comfort, it is important to leave the tape on your eye to keep it partly closed until your see your doctor the next day for a post operative check. You may require time off work and still need spectacles after surgery. Discuss expectations with the surgeon.
Sometimes, months or years after cataract surgery, the original capsule behind the artificial lens can become cloudy. This is called posterior capsule opacification. This is common following cataract surgery and can cause blurring of your vision. It is easily treated with a painless laser procedure called a YAG laser capsulotomy that is performed in our rooms.
Over 98% of cataract surgeries are successfully completed without surgical complications, and more than 95% of patients have improved vision. However complications, though rare, can occur and may result in permanent loss of vision.
Endophthalmitis – infection inside the eye which can cause permanent vision impairment.
Cystoid Macula Oedema – swelling of the macula away from its normal position causing blurring vision.
Posteriorly dislocated lens material – lens material may fall into the vitreous cavity causing pressure pain and blurred vision.
Choroidal Haemorrhage – bleeding in the retina causing permanent visual blurring.
Post-operative Glaucoma – increased pressure inside the eye causing pain and smokey vision.
Unexpected refractive outcome – the focus of the eye requires spectacles for sharpness
Details regarding risks and complications will be provided by your treating ophthalmologist when discussing surgery and proceeding with consent. At this time, your Brisbane Eye Clinic Ophthalmologist will be pleased to answer any queries you may have.
For Cataract Surgery in Brisbane call us today (07) 3832 1700