What is a cataract?
A cataract is the clouding or loss of transparency in the clear lens of the eye. This can interfere with vision, making it difficult to read, drive and complete other day to day activities. Cataracts usually develop with age as the proteins in the eye begin to break down and clump together, creating a yellowing of the lens and clouding vision.
If a cataract is beginning to cause problems with clear and comfortable vision, surgical removal and replacement with an artificial lens may be recommended.
Cataract surgery – What to expect
Surgery is the only way to permanently remove a cataract. This procedure involves removing the cataractous lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Here is what you can expect before, during and after cataract surgery.
Prior to your cataract surgery, Dr Pappalardo will provide you with detailed information regarding the procedure, including what to expect during surgery and in the post-operative period. She will detail the risks and benefits of surgery for your particular situation.
A key component of cataract surgery is calculating and deciding on the best possible artificial lens to implant during surgery. Dr Pappalardo will perform a complete eye examination and take various measurements of your eye in order to then discuss the options that will suit your particular situation and desired outcomes.
The surgery itself is performed as a day procedure, under sedation with the eye completely anaesthetised. The sedation and anaesthetic eye block will be performed by a qualified Specialist Anaesthetist, who will also monitor you during and after the procedure.
Cataract surgery takes around half an hour to complete and usually comprises the following steps.
First, a specialised ultrasound probe is used to break the cataract into fragments that can then be safely removed from the eye. Once this is complete, Dr Pappalardo will implant the artificial lens into the now empty lens capsule. The tiny incisions that are made during the surgery usually seal on their own without the use of stitches.
After the procedure, Dr Pappalardo will apply an eye pad and a shield over the operated eye to provide some comfort overnight, and to protect the eye from infection and trauma due to rubbing. You will be allowed to return home when you feel recovered from the procedure, however you must be accompanied by a family member, friend or carer as you will not be able to drive home. You will be given pain relieving medication to take as required overnight, once the anaesthetic wears off.
You will be seen by Dr Pappalardo the day after your surgery, at which time she will remove your eye pad, and check your eye. She will then provide you with detailed information relating to care of your eye, use of eye drops, and what to expect in the coming days and months.
Cataract surgery risks
As with any operation, cataract removal does not come without risks. While complications are infrequent, these will be discussed with you prior to your surgery. You will have Dr Pappalardo’s contact details after surgery so that you are able to contact her at any time if concerns arise that require advice or further management.
Get in touch to see Dr Juanita Pappalardo
Dr Pappalardo is a Specialist Ophthalmologist with broad experience treating a range of common eye diseases, including cataracts. If you believe that you have a cataract, get in touch to plan your visit with Dr Pappalardo.