WHAT TECHNIQUES ARE CURRENTLY USED FOR CATARACT SURGERY?
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND RISKS INVOLVED IN CATARACT SURGERY?
Currently, cataract surgery with intraocular lenses (IOL) is the only alternative for removing cataracts.
Around 95% of the people who choose to have cataract surgery with intraocular lenses experience a total recovery of their vision.
Additionally, continuous innovations in techniques and instruments used make the procedure safer than ever. However, as in any surgery, the patient should also be aware of the risks.
Complications from cataract surgery are rare if the patient is in good health and does not suffer from another eye condition or a serious disease.
For high risk patients, the incidence of serious complications secondary to cataract surgery is estimated at around 1 in 50 cases. You could have increase ocular pressure or detached retina.
Occasionally, cataract surgery fails to restore vision successfully because of underlying eye damage secondary to other conditions, such as macular degeneration or glaucoma.
Also, after 2 to 4 months, some patients could complain that their vision has become blurred again. This condition is known as secondary cataract or posterior capsule opacification (PCO).
This minor complication happens when the back of the lens capsule becomes cloudy and impairs your vision. PCO is effectively treated with a painless, five-minute laser procedure called yttrium-aluminum-garnet (YAG) laser capsulotomy.
PREPARATION FOR CATARACT SURGERY
HOW LONG DOES THE CATARACT SURGERY LAST? IS IT PAINFUL?
Most cataract interventions last between 15 and 30 minutes.
It is outpatient surgery without the need for hospitalization. It allows the patient to return home almost immediately.
This intervention is not painful thanks to anaesthetic eye drops, local anaesthesia, and relaxing medication (intravenous sedative), if needed.
You may experience slight discomfort, although intense pain is uncommon. Also, the recovery time is very short.
Some patients may present with an excessive watering of the eye or dry eye sensation, though.
HOW MUCH DOES PRIVATE CATARACT SURGERY COST?
Private cataract surgery cost depends on intraocular lenses used. Multifocal intraocular lens is more expensive than monofocal one.
If you want to receive a quote, please, fill in the contact form. You can send us your recent medical reports, so we can offer you the solution that best suits your needs.
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SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR FOREIGN PATIENTS HAVING CATARACT SURGERY.
Can both eyes be operated on for cataracts at the same time?
If you have cataracts in both eyes, the doctor usually schedules the second surgery after the first eye has completely healed.
For foreign patients, your doctor will try to organize the surgery within the same week (there are two to four days between surgeries) so that the patient can return home as soon as possible.
How long will the patient be in Barraquer Eye Hospital after cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. Usually, patients spend only a few hours in Barraquer Eye Hospital and can return home the same day.
International patients should plan for a stay of 10 days in Barcelona for postoperative tests. Although cataract surgery is very quick, your vision will probably not be at its best immediately after the surgery.
FAQ about cataract surgery:
Is there an alternative to surgery for removing cataracts?
Although cataract symptoms at an early stage can be treated in various ways, surgery is the only way to eliminate them.
Can cataracts and presbyopia (age-related long-sightedness) be corrected at the same time?
Yes, they can. In recent years, multifocal IOL intraocular lenses have been developed to correct cataracts and presbyopia (age-related long-sightedness) at the same time. In fact, Barraquer never recommends the PresbyLASIK technique to correct presbyopia (age-related long-sightedness) because the results obtained from other clinics have not been satisfactory. It is also a temporary solution as, with time, the patient usually finds him or herself at the starting point again. The solution for presbyopia (age-related long-sightedness) is cataract surgery with refractive correction purposes.
Could I end up blind because of cataracts?
If the cataracts are not treated in time they can eventually cause blindness.
When is the best moment for me to have my cataracts operated on?
Many people think that cataracts have to be at an advanced stage before they can be removed. But that is not true. Nowadays, cataract surgery can be carried out when the patient and the doctor consider that their vision is affecting their quality of life.
Is general anaesthetic necessary for cataract surgery?
As it is not a very long intervention, it is not necessary to administer general anaesthetic. Instead, the surgeon will use topical/local anaesthetic eye drops to numb the eye, which means that during the intervention, you would be awake.
If I have cataracts in both eyes, is it important not to let too much time pass between the operation on the first eye and on the second?
Yes. Although you may feel that your vision hasn’t completely adapted since the first intervention, it is important to keep in mind that vision depends on both eyes working together as soon as possible.
How long will it take before I can see after cataract surgery?
Each patient and each eye is different. Many patients experience a great improvement in their vision just after the intervention, but their vision will not reach its optimum state until 2-4 months afterwards.
What is the lifespan of an intraocular lens (IOL)?
Intraocular lenses (IOL’s) are made from durable materials so they don’t usually get damaged and you can expect that they will last all your life.
Is there an alternative for young patients with cataracts?
When it comes to a young person suffering from cataracts, before taking a hasty decision, it is important to analyze the case thoroughly. In young patients, doctor will try to preserve the crystalline lens. It would all depend on the degree of the cataract and if the cataract is significantly reducing the vision. After analyzing the medical tests, specialists at Barraquer Eye Hospital will advise you and indicate which alternatives you have.
Can cataracts increase the likelihood of developing another eye condition?
On occasion cataracts cause other conditions such as myopia (short-sightedness) and hyperopia (long-sightedness). And on rare occasions, if they are not operated on in time, the cataract can end up becoming so big that it causes some kind of glaucoma.
Best cataract specialists at Barraquer Eye Hospital
Bibliography – More recent publications:
Comparative study of coaxial microincision cataract surgery and standard phacoemulsification. Capella MJ, Barraquer E.
Cortical Cataract and Refractive Error. Barraquer RI.
Validation of the Nuclear Cataract Grading System BCN 10. Barraquer RI
Resolving refractive error after cataract surgery: IOL exchange, piggyback lens, or LASIK. Barraquer RI.
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