What is Cataract?
Cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye, usually due to age. It causes blurred vision and can lead to blindness. It is the commonest cause of blindness worldwide.
Read on to find out more about this common condition and how it is treated.
Types of Cataracts
The most prevalent form of cataract is linked to old age, which is characterised by clouding that occurs in the nucleus or centre of the lens.
Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts
A specific type of cataract where an opaque area forms at the back of the lens. This typically affects individuals who have been using steroids for an extended duration or those with diabetes.
Unlike other cataract types that primarily involve the centre or the back of the lens, cortical cataracts develop on the outer, or cortex, of the lens. These cataracts typically begin as wedge-shaped opacities that work their way inward toward the centre of the lens, resembling the spokes of a wheel.
What Causes Cataract?
Cataract develops in all of us as we age, especially with long term exposure to sunlight. It may also develop in younger patients, especially those with high myopia or diabetes, after eye injury or inflammation, or as a side-effect of steroid medication.
What are the Symptoms?
Gradual blurring or yellowing of vision can occur. Colours may appear duller. Some experience glare in bright light conditions or at night, or a change in their spectacle prescription as the cataract worsens.
How are Cataracts Diagnosed?
Cataracts are diagnosed by the eye doctor using a slit lamp microscope. A comprehensive eye check is done to exclude other abnormalities of the eye before the decision is taken to proceed with cataract surgery.
When do I Need Cataract Surgery?
In the past, cataract surgery was performed only when the cataract was ‘ripe enough’. Due to huge advances in surgical technique, surgery is now recommended earlier when blurred vision starts to affect one’s daily activities.
Surgery is the only effective method in the management of cataract.
It is performed as a day surgery procedure (Medisave claimable) under local anaesthesia in less than 20 minutes. Small wound phacoemulsification surgery using ultrasound energy allows the procedure to be performed safely and patients to enjoy rapid recovery in their vision by the very next day after surgery.
During this procedure, a small incision (which will seal on its own) is made at the edge of the cornea to gain access to the eye. Ultrasonic technology is utilised to fragment and break up the cataract before it is removed. Following this, an artificial lens is inserted to correct the vision, with various options available.
|Monofocal||Provides clear vision at a single fixed distance (usually distance vision) and require patients to use reading glasses for close-up tasks|
|Toric||Specifically designed to correct astigmatism, can be combined with other IOLs.|
|Multifocal||Designed to provide clear vision at multiple distances through having different zones in different part of the lens, akin to progressive glasses and can be used to correct presbyopia|
|Extended Depth of Focus (EDOF)||Offers a middle ground between multifocal and monofocal IOLs, providing clear vision at various distances with reduced glare and halos|
With an appropriate choice of intraocular lens implants (IOL) including aspheric monofocal, toric (astigmatic) or multifocal (bifocal, trifocal and extended focus) lenses, patients can achieve good vision for both distance and reading. This means that presbyopia (‘lao hua’) can be treated. Medishield Life can be used for this surgery.
As each type of lens implant has different strengths and weaknesses, it is important to discuss your needs with your eye doctor in order to select the most appropriate lens implant for your lifestyle. Come to our clinic to learn more.
A cataract cannot grow again after cataract surgery. However, 20% of people have a thickening of the capsular bag that receives the lens implant. This thickening can be treated with YAG laser, which is done as an outpatient procedure. Come for an eye check-up if you have blurred vision after cataract surgery.
Cataract Surgery Fees
| Consultation (First visit)|
$150 – $210
$110 – $150
| Medical Report (When needed)|
| Pre-cataract Surgery Calculation Tests|
| Cataract Surgery|
Fees indicated are updated as of February 2023 and prices are subject to GST.
Use of Medisave
You can use your Medisave to pay a portion of the fees for Cataract Surgery and YAG laser. You can use your Medisave for yourself or your immediate family members which includes your spouse, children, parents and grandparents.
Possible Complications of Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is a highly successful and common procedure, but like any surgical intervention, it carries some risks and potential complications.
Potential complications of cataract surgery, while uncommon, may include:
- Endophthalmitis – an infection causing inflammation in the eye, and if not addressed promptly, it can potentially result in vision loss
- Dislocated Intraocular Lens (IOL) – artificial lens placed during cataract surgery can shift out of its intended position, which may require additional surgery to reposition or replace the IOL
- Posterior capsular rupture – fragments of the cataract may fall into the back of the eye
- Posterior capsular opacification – back part of the lens capsule that holds the IOL can become cloudy over time, causing vision to deteriorate
- Retinal detachment
- Leaking wound which may require stitching
- Swelling of the retina
- Droopy eyelids
You may also experience other side effects such as dry eye and difficulties with night vision. These effects are typically temporary and tend to diminish over about a three-month period, gradually improving with time. The increased clarify gained after the surgery might make floaters more apparently, regardless of the IOL type. Some patiences may experience different symptoms when using multifocal lenses such as glare or haloes, typically at night.
After your surgery, it is crucial to closely monitor your condition. If you notice any increased redness, blurred vision, swelling, sharp pain, or excessive tearing, please contact your doctor promptly.