Q. What is a cataract?
A. Cataract is the opacity of the clear, natural lens inside the eye generally due to the progression of age. Just like graying of hair, one gets cataracts with age. When this lens becomes opaque with aging it does not permit light to reach the retina causing poor visibility, known as a cataract.
A cataract can occur in either or both eyes and is seen in all if we live long enough.
Q. What are the symptoms in patients suffering from cataracts?
A. Cataract causes a gradual, progressive, painless decrease in clarity of vision. Typically people complain of blurred vision, difficulty in driving, not being able to read for long and frequent change of spectacle power. Some may experience glare while looking at light and even double vision or Diplopia. If untreated this may lead to total blindness also.
Q. What are the causes of cataract?
A. Most common cause of cataract is aging. Other risk factors include diabetes, smoking, alcohol abuse, and environmental factors such as prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Q. How to prevent cataract?
A. Diet, yoga, exercises, or even medications can not prevent age-related cataract. Good control of diabetes and protection from UV rays can delay the onset of cataract.
Q. What are the treatment options for cataract?
A. The only scientifically proven treatment is the surgical removal of the natural lens, which has turned opaque and replaced with an artificial lens implant such as, Akreos AO MIL. No medicine or exercises are scientifically proven to cure cataract till date.
Q. What are the surgical options available?
A. Earlier cataract surgery was performed with an incision of 12 mm which required stitches and patching of the eye. Over the last few years with the advent of a technique called Phacoemulsification or Phaco, the cut in the eye had been reduced to the incision size of 2.8 mm – 3.4 mm. This (Phaco) has been the current popular trend for cataract surgery worldwide.
Keeping in line with the surgical procedure trends where cut size is being reduced day by day, S-MICS with its global break-through technology takes it a step further by reducing the incision size to a mere 1.6 mm – 1.8 mm.
Q. What are the specific advantages of S-MICS?
A. The specific advantages of S-MICS over Standard Phacoemulsification, which is the present the popular method of cataract surgery are:
1. S-MICS requires a smaller incision size (1.6 mm – 1.8 mm), which is 50 percent smaller than the standard Phaco which entails an incision size of 2.8 mm – 3.4 mm.
2. A smaller incision size means a smaller wound that heals faster leading to quicker vision recovery and lesser chances of infections. Faster healing means minimal restrictions and an early return to normal life.
3. Smaller incision induces little change to the original shape of the eye, resulting in lower chances of developing surgery-induced astigmatism (cylindrical power) and lesser requirement of post-operative spectacles.
4. S-MICS helps in enhanced quality of postoperative vision due to improved Intra Ocular Lenses (IOLs) such as Akreos AO MIL, which uses advanced optics technology leading to superior vision contrast.
Q. What are the lens options available?
A. There are two basic types of lenses-non-foldable and foldable, with the former having restricted usage. Foldable lenses are those which require smaller incisions and open after insertion into the eye and they are of two types-monofocals and multifocal. Among the monofocals, Zero Aberration lenses like Akreos AO MIL, are the most technically advanced and provide better visual outcomes with better contrast and depth of vision.
Q. Is cataract surgery safe?
A. Any procedure or surgery in the medical field may have risks and benefits. Fortunately, due to improved technology like Stellaris, procedures like S-MICS, and the skills of the doctors, the cataract is one of the top-rated surgeries with regard to excellent surgical results.
Cataract surgery is the most performed surgery in the world even more than a dental extraction procedure. This is one surgery with maximum gratifying results.
Q. Is cataract surgery painful?
A. No this surgery is relatively painless and lasts for a few minutes only. It does not even require painful injections around the eye in the majority of cases and can be performed by simply putting one or two eye drops a few minutes prior to the surgery to numb the eye.
Q. How soon can I rejoin my office after cataract surgery?
A. The visual recovery in cataract surgery can vary from patient to patient and especially by the kind of procedure performed, In standard cataract surgery the patient may take 1 to 2 weeks to properly recover on the other hand standard Phaco surgery may take 4-5 days before the patient may feel fit resume his daily routine but with S-MICS a patient may even drive back home if he feels up to it.
Q. Which is a good time of the year for cataract surgery?
A. Cataract surgery can be done at any time of the year and S-MICS technology has now made it even safer.
Q. I am wearing -8.0 spectacle power and diagnosed with a cataract, will I require spectacles after this surgery?
A. Using modern technology like S-MICS, we can get rid of this -8.0 power and make the patient see without glasses, except for reading purposes.
Q. I am a diabetic and am afraid of wound healing and infections. What is the surgical option for me?
A. Thanks to modern-day technology using the S-MICS technique, cataract surgery can be performed with a 1.8mm incision for quicker healing thereby making it safer than the current 3.2 mm Phaco for diabetic patients.
Q. What are the usual precautions after cataract surgery?
A. With modern techniques like S-MICS, the restrictions are minimal. They are limited to avoiding rubbing the operated eye, dusty and polluted places, and contact of the eye with water for a week to ten days, depending on the surgical procedure used and the use of dark protective glasses when going outdoors.
Diabetic patients should maintain their blood sugar after the surgery. One can resume their normal daily activities whenever one feels comfortable.