Cataract Eye Surgery in Toronto
What is a Cataract?
Within the eye, lays a bi-convex structure known as the crystalline lens. This lens bends light rays to focus objects on the retina at the back of the eye. This lens however, can become cloudy which obstructs light from properly travelling through to the retina. The clouding of the lens is called a cataract which results in vision loss and even halo and glare from lights. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss and most common eye condition for patients over 4o, effecting more than 2.5 million Canadians.
Fortunately, cataracts can be removed to restore vision once the cataracts begin to interfere with every day activities like driving, watching tv and reading.
What causes cataracts?
The most common cause of cataracts is ageing. The lens is made up of water and protein and as we age, the proteins begin to clump together forming a cloudy obstruction on the lens. Over time the lens will become more cloudy and impair vision.
Cataracts can also be developed from trauma, secondary conditions such as medical conditions, medications, and exposure to substances, radiation, and ultraviolet light. Infants may also be born with or develop congenital cataracts from infection, injury or developmental issues.
How can a cataract be treated?
Cataracts do not cause and pain or discomfort and most do not need to be treated until the loss of vision interrupts every day activities. Once the cataract is too dense, cataract surgery will be recommended. Cataract surgery is among the most highly perfected and safe procedures in medicine with over 95% of patients vision successfully restored after surgery.
Cataract surgery is mostly perform on an outpatient basis in hospital or private clinics. The procedure is performed using a high frequency ultrasonic device that breaks down the cloudy natural lens which is then gently removed. This is known as Phacoemulsification. A clear implantable lens, known as in Intraocular lens implant (IOL) is then inserted securely into the existing lens capsule between the iris and pupil that will act as the crystalline lens and restore vision.
What are the risks of cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is one of the most safe and effective surgeries performed today. The most common complications is called Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO). PCO is developed after cataract surgery when the lens capsule in which the intraocular implant is inserted becomes hazy as a result of epithelial cells remaining after surgery that begin to grow on the capsule. This can be treated with a simple procedure known as YAG laser capsulotomy. This procedure is performed in office using a YAG laser that removes the hazy posterior capsule obstructing vision. There is no incisions and takes only a few minutes. You may be prescribed an anti-inflammatory drop after the procedure. Following a YAG capsulotomy, you may resume normal activities immediately. Although rare, there is a risk of retinal detachment after YAG capsulotomy. It is important to monitor your vision post capsulotomy. While increase in floaters is not uncommon, if you experience flashing lights or a dark “veil” over your vision, you should visit the emergency department immediately.
There are other complications that can result from cataract surgery including inflammation, swelling of the cornea or retina, increased intraocular pressure ptosis (drooping of the eyelid.) and vision loss. Vision Loss is extremely rare often as a result of infection or bleeding inside the eye.