Cataracts are one of the most common causes of eye problems worldwide, and cataract surgery is the only method of permanently removing them. In the Middle and low-income countries, cataracts are the primary contributors to blindness. In England, approximately 300,000 cataract surgeries are conducted every year while in the USA, cataracts affect nearly 24 million people who are above 40 years of age.
The lens of the eye is made up of water and proteins, and cataracts are a result of the proteins clamping together to form a barrier that affects a person’s vision. Cataract surgical treatment restores vision to the affected people. It is normally part of the outpatient surgeries in most hospitals. It is a simple procedure, and the patient can go home almost immediately after the cataract surgery unless they develop complications.
The Different Techniques Used In Cataract Surgical Treatment
The following three procedures are some of the most popular. However, the particular treatment depends on the patient’s condition and the level of technology in that hospital.
This procedure involves a small incision on the cornea of the eye. A probe inserted into the eye emits ultrasound waves that break up the lens. The ultrasound waves break down the natural lens, and suction is used to remove it.
A new artificial lens is then inserted into the eye to replace the natural lens. There are different forms of plastic lenses, and the most common one is the intraocular lens. The significant advantage of this method is that it takes a very short duration of time and there are no stitches required.
2. Extracapsular cataract extraction
This technique involves a longer incision on the sclera or cornea of the eye to remove the natural lens. It is a substitute to phacoemulsification in patients who have very hard cataracts, and they are unable to undergo phacoemulsification.
The clouded part of the lens containing the aggregated proteins is removed first, and the rest of the natural lens is removed by suction. Stitches are mandatory in this type of cataract surgery since a larger incision is used to penetrate the eye.
3. Manual small incision cataract surgery
In this type of cataract surgery, a small incision on the sclera acts as a tunnel to manually remove the natural lens. The incision is larger than that of phacoemulsification but much smaller than that of extracapsular cataract extraction. Therefore, no stitches are required, and the scleral tunnel will seal on its own.
The significant advantage of this form of cataract surgical treatment is the fact that it is less time-consuming and lower in cost compared to extracapsular cataract extraction.
Cataract surgical treatments have become popular in many parts of the world. They have restored vision to many people especially the elderly who are more prone to cataracts. Despite there being several types of cataracts, cataract surgery has made it possible to remove most of them.