Cataracts

In the most common surgical operation performed and the most successful

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Berwick Eye and  Surgicentre

We are a modern ophthalmic practice  and have been providing the communities in the South East suburbs with specialist eye care for  over 20 years.

Berwick Surgicentre

Berwick Surgicentre is an accredited Day Surgery serving the needs of the Berwick and its surrounding suburbs. It is contracted with all health funds , operates Saturdays and has  provided modern , safe ophthalmic surgery for over 13 years

Our Services

We provide a comprehensive range of services and specialties from cataract surgery to paediatric, squint, glaucoma, ocular immunology, medical and surgical retina and neuro-ophthalmology by subspecialists recognised in their field.

 

Our People

Our dedicated staff are highly  trained to provide you with the  best care possible. We also pride ourselves in educating you fully in your medical condition to allow you to participate in your own care. We welcome your support persons and interpreters as required

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What is a cataract?

 A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. It can be compared to a window that is frosted or yellowed. The amount and pattern of cloudiness within the lens can vary. If the cloudiness is not near the centre of the lens, you may not be aware that a cataract is present. There are many misconceptions about cataract.

Cataract is not:

·         a film over the eye;

·         caused by overusing the eyes;

·         spread from one eye to the other;

·         a cause of irreversible blindness.

Common symptoms of cataract include:

·         a painless blurring of vision;

·         glare, or light sensitivity;

·         poor night vision;

·         double vision in one eye;

·         needing brighter light to read;

·         fading or yellowing of colours.

 

What causes cataract?

 The most common type of cataract is related to aging of the eye. Other causes of cataract include:

·         family history;

·         medical problems, such as diabetes; Left, normal vision. At right, dulled or yellowed vision. Blurring or dimming of vision

·         injury to the eye;

·         medications, especially steroids;

·         radiation;

·         long-term, unprotected exposure to sunlight;

·         previous eye surgery;

·         unknown factors

 How fast does a cataract develop?

 How quickly the cataract develops varies among individuals and may even be different between the two eyes. Most age-related cataracts progress gradually over a period of years. Other cataracts, especially in younger people and people with diabetes, may progress rapidly over a short time. It is not possible to predict exactly how fast cataracts will develop in any given person.

 How is cataract treated?

 Surgery is the only way a cataract can be removed. However, if symptoms of cataract are not bothering you very much, surgery may not be needed. Sometimes a simple change in your eyeglass prescription may be helpful. No medications, dietary supplements or exercises have been shown to prevent or cure cataracts. Protection from excessive sunlight may help slow the progression of cataracts. Sunglasses that screen out ultraviolet (UV) light rays or regular eyeglasses with a clear, anti-UV coating offer this protection.

How is a cataract detected?

 By performing a thorough eye examination, your ophthalmologist can detect the presence of a cataract. A careful evaluation will also rule out any other conditions that may be causing blurred vision or other eye problems. Problems with other parts of the eye (such as the cornea, retina or optic nerve) can be responsible for vision loss and may prevent you from having much or any improvement in vision after cataract surgery.

If improvement in your vision is unlikely, cataract removal may not be recommended. Your ophthalmologist can tell you how much visual improvement is likely. Clear lens In a normal eye, light focuses precisely on the retina. In an eye with a cataract, light scatters throughout the eye instead of focusing precisely on the retina.

 

When should surgery be done?

 Surgery should be considered when cataracts cause enough loss of vision to interfere with your daily activities. It is not true that cataracts need to be “ripe” before they can be removed or that they need to be removed just because they are present. Cataract surgery can be performed when your visual needs require it. You must decide if you can see well enough to do your job, drive safely, and read or watch TV in comfort.

Does your vision allow you to perform daily tasks such as cooking, shopping, doing yard work or taking medications without difficulty?

 Based on your symptoms, you and your ophthalmologist should decide together when surgery is appropriate.

What can I expect from cataract surgery?

 More than 150,000 people have cataract surgery each year in the Australia  , and more than 95 percent of those surgeries are performed with no complications. During cataract surgery, which is usually performed under local or topical anaesthesia as an outpatient procedure, the cloudy lens is removed from the eye. In most cases, the focusing power of the natural lens is restored by replacing it with a permanent intraocular lens implant. Your ophthalmologist performs this delicate surgery using a microscope, miniature instruments and other modern technology.

After surgery, you will have to take eyedrops as your ophthalmologist directs.

Your surgeon will check your eye several times to make sure it is healing properly. Cataract surgery is a highly successful procedure. Improved vision is the result in more than 95 percent of cases, unless there is a problem with the cornea, retina, optic nerve or other structures.

 It is important to understand that complications can occur during or after the surgery, some severe enough to limit vision. If you experience even the slightest problem after cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist will want to hear from you immediately.

 In many people who have cataract surgery, the natural capsule that supports the intraocular lens may become cloudy over time. If this occurs, your ophthalmologist can perform an outpatient laser procedure (called YAG capsulotomy) to open this cloudy capsule, restoring clear vision.

Q: Will I need to be put to sleep with an anaesthetic?

No. It is now rare to need a full anaesthetic. Most patients have only their eye put to sleep with anaesthetic drops. My anaesthetist will provide light sedation so you will be comfortable during this procedure

Q: Will I need an eye patch after surgery?

Only for the first day so as to reduce the risk of infection.

Q: When will I be able to return to work?

Desk work can be performed once on is comfortable. Heavy manual work should be avoided for the first week. Cataract Surgery in the Berwick Surgicentre

Q: If I don't have insurance , can I still have cataract surgery at Berwick Surgicentre?

Yes. You can still have the personalised care and certainty of your choice of surgeon, and avoid the waiting lists of public hospital treatment.

Q: Will I need to be checked before the operation?

You will need to have an appointment to confer with your doctor to asses for presence of cataract and any other diseases in the eye. A laser or ultrasound measurement will be made of your eye to precisely measure it to select the size of implant that you may need, The fee for this is mostly claimable through Medicare. If you have astigmatism, a corneal map will be made to plan for any astigmatic correction at time of surgery. We invite your carer or close family member to attend with you for the counseling and you will be also shown a patient informational video on cataract surgery.

Q: Will I need to be checked after the operation?

You will be reviewed in the clinic the next day, and after one week. You will also need to have your eyes examined and re-tested for glasses after one month either at the eye centre or your referring optometrist.

Q: Will I need eye drops?

Yes. You will have eye drops to use four times daily for the first week , and then you will cut down the drops over the next 3 weeks.

Q: Will I need Laser treatment after surgery?

 Rarely. We use mainly Acrysof lenses that have the least complication rate of any intra-ocular lenses.

 Conclusion

Cataracts are a common cause of decreased vision, particularly for the elderly, but they are treatable. Your ophthalmologist can tell you whether cataract or some other problem is the cause of your vision loss and can help you decide if cataract surgery is appropriate for you.

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