Cataract surgery is an operation which is performed to remove the eye’s lens when it is cloudy. Cataract is a sizeable cause of ocular morbidity in Nigeria and most of the cataracts are age-related.
The purpose of the lens is to bend (refract) light rays that come into the eyes so as to help you see. The lens should be clear; however with a cataract it is cloudy. When you have cataract, it can be like looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Objects may look blurry, hazy or less colorful.
The only approach to remove a cataract is with surgery. Your ophthalmologist will suggest removing a cataract when it stops you from doing things you want or need to do.
During cataract surgery, your cloudy natural lens is removed and changed with a clear artificial lens. That lens is known as an intraocular lens (IOL). Your ophthalmologist will discuss with you about IOLs and how they operate.
Your surgeon will measure your eye to verify the proper focusing power for your IOL. Also, you will be asked about any medicines you have been taking. You may be asked not to take some of these medicines before surgery.
You may be prescribed eye drop medicines to begin before surgery. These medicines help stop infection and reduce swelling during and after surgery.
The day of surgery:
Your ophthalmologist can ask you to avoid any solid food for at least 6 hours before your surgery.
Cataract removal surgery in Nigeria can be done in an outpatient surgical center or in a hospital. Here is what will occur:
Phacoemulsification: With phacoemulsification cataract surgery process, an ultrasound instrument breaks up the core of the cloudy lens and suctions it out.
Your eye will be numbed with eye drops or with an injection somewhere around the eye. You may also be given a medicine to help for relaxation.
You will be wakeful during surgery and may see light and movement at the course of the procedure, but you will not see what the surgeon is doing to your eye.
Your doctor looks through a unique microscope and creates tiny incisions (cuts, created by laser or a blade) near the tip of your cornea. The surgeon uses these incisions to get to the lens in your eye. Using very small instruments, he or she will break up the lens with the cataract and remove it and then put your new lens into place.
Oftentimes your surgeon will not need to stitch the incisions closed. These “self sealing” incisions eventually will close by themselves with time. A shield will be positioned over your eye to protect it while you heal from the surgery.
You will rest in a recovery room for about 15–30 minutes. Then you will be allowed to go home.
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Days or weeks after surgery:
You will get to use eye drops after surgery. Be certain to follow your doctor’s instructions for using these drops.
Avoid letting soap or water to directly get in the eye.
Do not rub or add pressure on your eye. Your ophthalmologist can ask you to use eyeglasses or a shield to protect your eye.
You will have to wear an eye shield when you sleep.
Your ophthalmologist will discuss with you about how active you can become soon after surgery. He or she will let you know when you can safely exercise, drive or do other regular activities again.
Like most surgeries, cataract surgery comes with its risk of problems or complications. Here are some of the risks:
Your ophthalmologist will discuss with you about the risks and benefits of cataract surgery.
Your sight could become cloudy or blurry weeks, months or years after cataract surgery. This is not abnormal. Your doctor may refer to this as “posterior capsular opacification (or PCO).” It's also known as "secondary cataract" or "scar tissue." It's not like a scar you get on your skin, but because it happens after the eye has recovered from cataract surgery, some persons think of it as a scar. It occurs when a membrane called the posterior capsule becomes cloudy. It may help you to think of the posterior capsule as a transparent pocket. It holds your IOL in position. It also once held your eye’s natural lens (what became the cataract) in position. If you notice cloudy vision again, you might need to have a laser surgery. The laser creates an opening in the cloudy capsule and is known as posterior capsulotomy (or a YAG laser capsulotomy). This surgical procedure helps restore clear vision.
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