What is a Cataract?
Cataracts develop as a result of clouding of the natural lens of the eye. This lens is located towards the front of the eye, behind the pupil and iris, and sits within the lens capsule. The lens itself is crystalline and has a layer of epithelial cells that cover the interior (front) surface. As these cells continuingly multiply over time they become restricted by the size of the capsule, resulting in the lens becoming increasingly more dense. Over time the lens hardens and the opacity increases resulting in cloudy vision. The rate of this process does vary with each individual, however most start to develop cataracts to some degree after reaching roughly 40-50 years of age. If left untreated cataracts can lead to a complete loss of vision.
There are a number of different types of cataracts, most being age related, although other factors can increase the chances of developing cataracts earlier in life. Some of these others types of cataracts include.
- Secondary Cataracts: Sometimes a cataract can form after eye surgery, such surgeries may include a vitrectomy to treat a retinal detachment or surgery for glaucoma. Prolonged use of certain medications such as steroids can also cause a secondary cataract to form.
- Traumatic cataract: This type of cataract occurs when a traumatic eye injury, such as blunt force or penetrating trauma causes a cataract to form.
- Radiation cataract: Exposure to radiation, such as excessive exposure to the sun or welding can cause a radiation cataract to form.
- Congenital cataract: Although rare, some children are born with cataracts or they develop cataracts at a young age.
When cataracts develop surgery can be performed to replace the cloudy natural lens with an artificial intraocular plastic lens (IOL). Today, patients are increasingly undergoing cataract lens replacement surgery earlier in life, and the procedure has become an extremely rapid and refined process with tiny 2.0 mm incisions, quick recoveries, and typically, great visual outcomes.
Lens implantation has been available and performed regularly for over 50 years. So the technology and surgical techniques have been honed over that period to reach high levels of sophistication and predictability.
For well over a decade now, surgeons have been able to offer multifocal presbyopia-correcting intraocular lenses (IOLs), and with them, the option of spectacle independence for older people.
At Perth Laser Vision, we pride ourselves in offering a range of both monofocal and multifocal Intra-Ocular Lens implants to suit different lifestyles and needs. Our surgeon Dr McGeorge will discuss the best option for you at your initial consultation.