What is cataract?
The cataract is a physiological change that before or after affects all people and consists of the opacification of the lens, a natural lens that we have inside the eye. Let's understand it a little better: in an eye model (an eye where a transversal cut has been made) we see the retina and the nerve in the back of the eye. In the anterior part is located the cornea, which is transparent, behind it we find the iris, ie the part that provides the color of the eye, and behind it, surrounded by the ciliary muscle, is the lens. The lens, under the effect of this eye muscle, focuses on nearby objects. Initially the lens is transparent and flexible, but over the years it loses its flexibility and that's when we started needing glasses to see the next objects. This refractive problem is known as presbyopia. Unfortunately, the lens degeneration process goes beyond its flexibility and the crystalline lens, initially transparent, loses this characteristic progressively becoming an opaque crystalline lens.. That's when we talk about cataracts. What happens is that the light that enters the eye is dispersed by the opacity of the lens and the patient will notice difficulties in the vision, especially in situations of changes in luminosity or in driving, although there are remedies before the phenomenon reaches these extremes.
How can we solve the cataract problem?
There is no treatment with drops or lasers that can solve cataracts: the only solution is surgical. The surgery consists of restoring the opaque lens through a transparent lens. It is done by introducing two small ultrasound needles that allow us to undo the lens inside the eye and replace it with another transparent. So that we restore again the passage of light through the ocular pupil. The procedure is performed through a very small incision of less than 2 mm without sutures, without anesthesia and without punctures; this allows the patient to quickly reintegrate into their daily life. It does not need a post-operative proper.
What risks does the surgery entail and what is the recommended age for its application?
There may be a fairly significant risk of infection. Unfortunately all surgical interventions have it. However, in the case of ophthalmology, this risk is very low, in fact it is lower than one in five thousand patients intervened. But it does not stop being a risk, so before, during and up to two weeks after the intervention the patient will be subjected to a treatment with antibiotics. If you have any doubt or any situation you should consult your ophthalmologist. The recommended age for cataract surgery is when the patient actually manifests the symptoms; it is not necessary, contrary to what is popularly believed, to expect the cataracts to be mature. On the contrary with the current techniques it is recommended to undo them inside the eye when they are not too made: that limits the energy that we use and therefore facilitates the immediate postoperative period.
Will glasses have to be worn after the intervention?
The patient will not need glasses for far vision. Depending on the type of lens we implant, you may have to need glasses for near vision. For the last few years we have been using new lenses, called multifocal lenses that create two images inside the eye: an image from a distance and another from near. The brain must be able, depending on each circumstance, to choose which of the two images is appropriate at each moment for a clear vision. Unfortunately not all patients are willing or able to get used to the difficulties of adaptation that requires the implantation of these lenses. Also not all patients are suitable for the implantation of these multifocal lenses. The assessment by your ophthalmologist is very important and the patient understands the limitations and expectations of this type of treatment.