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What is a Cataract? A Cataract is a clouding of the natural lens inside your eye. Your lens sits just behind your iris, the coloured part of your eye. Normally your lens is clear and helps to focus the light entering your eye. Developing cataracts will cause your sight to become cloudy and can give rise to symptoms of glare and dazzle with lights, for example when driving at night.
Cataracts can affect one or both eyes and typically develop with age but some cataracts can be associated with underlying medical conditions. Unfortunately cataracts cannot be prevented, but with regular eye tests can be picked up in their early stages so you can receive treatment sooner.
About Lens Implants: Cataracts can be treated by replacing the cloudy (natural) lens with a new artificial lens (implant), also known as an intraocular lens (IOL). Under local anaesthetic the old lens is broken up and removed using an ultrasound probe inserted through a tiny incision in the eye that seals without any stitches. The surgery usually takes less than 30 minutes and most patients say they feel no pain or discomfort. However, if you feel you would benefit from sedation or general anaesthetic please discuss this with your Consultant.
Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries in the world, and although there are some risks involved, modern surgery is very successful. Your surgeon will explain the risks that are specific to your eyes following a thorough examination and detailed measurements of your eyes.
Monofocal IOLs; normally with cataract surgery the cloudy lens is generally replaced with a monofocal lens. This usually provides good distance but means you will still require glasses for tasks within arm’s length. This lens will not be able to correct any astigmatism so distance glasses may still be required
There are other options you may wish to consider privately with regards to lens implants.
Toric IOLs aim to correct or reduce the refractive error caused by astigmatism. Astigmatism occurs when the cornea isn’t a perfectly curved shape. Many people who wear glasses or contact lenses have some degree of astigmatism. Toric IOLs are tailored to the patient’s individual astigmatism to give optimal results.
Multifocal / Extended range / Trifocal IOLs:
These IOLs aim to give both distance and some useful near and intermediate vision. Although this sounds like the perfect solution there may be some compromise, and your eyes might not be suitable for these IOLs. Your surgeon will explain your options after a full examination.
In some cases you can use your eyes independently, with one eye for distance and the other for near vision. This would be made possible by using monofocal IOLs and setting one to make it short sighted. Not all patients can tolerate this and you may have to undergo a trial with contact lenses from your optometrist first.
The Edinburgh Clinic’s Lead Ophthalmic Nurse, Craig Macdonald, explains how The Edinburgh Clinic can help:
“At The Edinburgh Clinic our specialist Consultant Ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) offer a comprehensive service for the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of eye and vision concerns. Patients can be seen by a Consultant within a few days of contacting the clinic. At The Edinburgh Clinic we aim to provide first-class independent healthcare for the local community in a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment; one in which we would be happy to treat our own family.”
The Edinburgh Clinic has an extensive Eye Clinic with state of the art diagnostic equipment to check the overall health of their eyes before and after surgery if needed. In particular Helidelberg Spectralis OCT, Pentacam Corneal Topography and Visual Field analysis