When the normal lens inside the eye, just behind the pupil, becomes cloudy this is referred to as a cataract. Cataracts are a normal part of ageing, commonly advancing to the extent where they affect the vision in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s. Less commonly they can affect younger people, especially if there is a strong family history, following trauma to the eye or from taking certain medication, especially Prednisolone.
Cataracts can cause several visual problems:
- Blurred vision
- Problems with night driving
- Glare sensitivity
- Distorted vision
- An alteration in your glasses script
- Poor vision in bright or dull light
Cataracts are commonly removed, in fact cataract extraction is one of the most commonly performed operations of any type. It is performed as day surgery, so you can return home soon after the surgery is finished. Dr Loughnan performs the operation using anaesthetic drops on the eye. There are no injections around the eye. This is not only easier for the person having the operation, but also safer. There is an anaesthetist present during the operation to give the patient a sedative through an injection into a vein on their arm; as such they are as sleepy as they wish to be during the operation. The operation usually takes approximately 15 minutes to perform, there are usually no stitches. So usually no injections around the eye and no stitches.
When the cataract is removed a new plastic lens of specific power is placed into the eye, in the same place from where the cataract was removed. This lens lasts indefinitely and doesn’t wear out or need to be replaced. No stiches are required to secure the lens into place, it is supported by the body’s normal lens support structures. The lens that is placed inside the eye can correct for any pre-existing short-sightedness, long-sightedness or astigmatism.
After the operation the eye is covered with a clear protective shield and the patient can leave the hospital to return home usually within the hour. The eye is usually quite comfortable after the operation although some minor discomfort, irritation and wateriness the first night after the operation is common.
The shield is removed the next day and the vision is frequently significantly improved immediately. Eye drops are started at this first day post-operative visit and are used for the next 3 weeks.
Dr. Loughnan performs all of his surgeries at Victoria Parade Surgery Centre (VPSC), situated on the first floor of the same building where they consult (100 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne). This is a large eye surgery specialty hospital and has dedicated free parking for patients on the day of surgery.