cataract

Cataract

Table of Contents

What is a cataract?

A cataract occurs when the crystalline (the natural lens of the eye that is found behind the pupil) loses its transparency.

We can compare the cristalline with the lens of a camara that serves to focus on an object. When the cristalline becomes opaque, rays of light cannot approriately reach the retina and it looks like we are seeing the world around us through a dirty glass. If the problem developes, a cataract can cause reversible blindness.

The most typical are cataracts due to age. As a cataract begins to develop, it is subtle and unnoticeable. As the cataract develops over time, it will lead to greater vision loss and limit daily activities.

Clear lens in a young patient.
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Cataract due to age.
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Intumescent Cataract in a diabetic patient.
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What are the symptoms of a cataract?

  • Blurry vision that progressively worsens.
  • Frequently changing prescription for nearsightedness.
  • Double vision with uncomfortable glare.
  • Faded or washed out colors and contrasts.
  • When a cataract is more advanced, the pupil can appear grey or slightly white.
Normal vision
Cataract vision

How can I know if I have a cataract?

A comprehensive eye exam with an opthalmologist is needed to diagnose a cataract. It is important to visit your eye doctor if you notice any changes in your vision.

In early stages of a cataract, your vision may improve by using prescription glasses. However, in later stages the only treatment option for a cataract is surgery.

The new IOL Master 700 is the best equipment to calculate the intraocular lens “Exclusive Retina Center Technology”

Risk factors for developing a cataract:

  • Age
  • Ocular trauma
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation within the eye
  • Consuming alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to UV light
  • Taking certain medications like steroids or antipsychotics

CATARACT SURGERY IS THE MOST PERFORMED SURGERY IN THE WORLD WITH ONE OF THE HIGHEST SUCCESS RATES.

What is the treatment for a cataract?

When the crystalline becomes opaque (which is a cataract), it is not posible to clean it. The only treatment is to surgically remove it using laser and/or ultrasound and replace with an artificial lens that stays in the eye for the rest of the patient’s life.

This surgery is a same-day outpatient procedure performed with local anesthesia using eye drops and lasts about 15 minutes. Usually, the surgery is performed on one eye and later the other. After cataract surgery, the patient should rest for 24 hours. While in these 24 hours the patient can do many normaly daily activities like eat, bathe, watch televisión, and sleep as usual it is important that the patient avoid rubbing their eye or lifting heaving objects.

Soon you will be surprised with your new vision with brighter colors and more details. Many patients mention that they can see with much better definition.

There is no age limit for cataract surgery. Surgery is suggested when you notice that the cataract limits your ability to do daily activities.

Only regular visits with an ophthalmologist can properly diagnose and treat a cataract.

At Retina Center we have the best technology to perform cataract surgery and more than 5000 surgeries of experience. We are also experts in extremely complicated cases. When cataract surgery becomes complicated for an Ophthalmologist, the Retinologist is the one who resolves the complications and we are Retinologists.

What to expect after cataract surgery?

For some patients, simply removing the cataract, placing a transparent intraocular lens, and using glasses for certain activities is perfect. In these patients, a monofocal lens is placed to help patients see as far as possible. Other patients may want surgery to achieve the best possible vision without having to use glasses for all of their activities. In these patients, a trifocal lens is placed to help patients see objects that are near, intermediate, and far.

DURING YOUR VISIT WITH THE OPHTHALMOLOGIST, IT IS IMPORTANT TO SPEAK ABOUT YOUR NEEDS AND EXPECTATIONS SO THAT YOU AND YOUR OPHTHALMOLOGIST CAN DECIDE WHAT IS THE BEST OPTION FOR YOU.

Intraocular lens after cataract surgery.
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Trifocal intraocular lens to correct distance and near vision.
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VIVITY intraocular lens to correct intermediate and near vision.
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Laser-assisted cataract surgery

For patients with cataracts, there are two options for surgery: traditional cataract surgery or laser assisted cataract surgery. In traditional cataract surgery, the surgeon manually creates a small incision in the cornea with a blade similar to a scalpel. The eye surgeon then uses a small instrument that creates a circular opening in the  where the cataract is located. Next, a high-frequency ultrasound is used to fracture the cataract and remove it. At the end of the surgery, an intraocular lens is inserted as a replacement for the opaque lens (cataract). For this procedure, sutures are usually not required.

In laser-assisted cataract surgery, a piece of equipment is placed on the eye that perfectly maps out the surface of the eye as well as the characteristics of the anterior part of the eye. This equipment sends this detailed information to a computer that programs the laser to determine the location, size and exact depth of the bladless incisions in the cornea more safely.

The eye surgeon also uses the laser to create the circular opening in the bag and fracture the cataract into smaller fragments more precisely, which reduces the risks of surgery. Next, an ultrasound probe is used only to remove what is left of the cataract without the need for more complex maneuvers and the surgery is completed by inserting the intraocular lens without the use of any sutures. This surgery lasts about 15 minutes.

Laser assisted cataract surgery as seen from the inside

What are the advantages of laser-assisted cataract surgery?

Laser assited cataract surgery allows us to make very precise incisions in less time without the need to use blades or scaleps. Improves the accuracy of the main steps of surgery such as the opening of the bag where the cataract is located, which is a step that should be perfect when placing premium or multifocal intraocular lens (to see from far and near). Laser assisted cataract surgery can offer a greater degree of correction for refractive errors suchs as astigmatismo, compared to conventional cataract surgery.

Entrevista Televisa “Todo Acerca de las Cataratas”
Cirugía de catarata PASO a PASO explicado

References: American Academy of Ophthalmology. What Are Cataracts? (https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-cataracts) Accessed 3/7/2023.

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