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All About Cataract

Eye with cataractWhat is cataract?

Cataract is when the clear natural lens inside the eye becomes cloudy, resulting in light being scattered and blocked. Vision is then impaired. It may be like looking through a frosted glass and there may be glares and halos in bright lights or during night-driving.

Who gets cataract?

Cataract becomes more common with the increase in age, though it can occur at any time in life. For those aged 45 to 74 the percentage of people with vision reduced by cataract is 30%. By age 60, more than 60% of eyes have cataracts and by 75, about 95% of eyes have cataract.

Eye with clear crystalline lens

When you are young, your crystalline lens is clear (no cataracts), therefore your vision is clear.

Eye with cloudy crystalline lens or cataract

Over the age of 50, the clear crystalline lens becomes cloudy (cataract forming), and vision becomes less clear, especially in dim conditions.

So how do you know if you have cataract?

Symptoms of cataract:

  • Blurred vision
  • Glares or halos around bright lights
  • Reduction or loss of colour perception
  • Difficulty with vision at night or in dim light
  • Spectacle prescriptions change but the glasses no longer improve the vision back to a normal standard

Cataract development within the eye

Cataract develops slowly and is often not noticed at first. Over time vision becomes affected and may be fuzzy. Colours may appear less vivid and washed out. At least 20% of cataracts get worse over the course of a year and 65% worsen over 5 years.

If cataract is left untreated, it will continue to develop and vision will get worse.

If you suspect that you may have cataract, you should see a cataract surgeon like Dr David Goh, who will perform a vision test and examination of the eyes to look for the presence of cataract and of any other eye problems which may affect the vision.

What is the treatment for cataract?

Cataract cannot be treated with medication. Surgery is the only treatment option. Cataract surgery is one of the most successful surgeries and takes only about fifteen minutes. With over a million patients choosing surgery for cataract each year, it is one of the most common of all elective surgical procedures worldwide. Millions of cataract procedures have been performed worldwide; and the safety and predictability of the outcome is well known to be excellent. The implanted lens is also expected to last your life-time, without any increase in eyesight degree prescription.

When should I proceed with the cataract surgery and the intra-ocular lens implantation?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no longer a need to wait till the cataract is “ripe” before considering surgery to remove it. When the effects of the cataract start to affect your daily activity, you may choose to get the surgery done. When your quality of life starts to be affected, you should undergo surgery to restore your vision. At the same time, a golden opportunity presents itself unto you for you to correct any existing myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness), presbyopia (“lao hua”) and astigmatism. In the hands of a skillful refractive surgeon like Dr David Goh, these refractive errors can be completely treated or reduced to enable you complete spectacle freedom, post-operatively.

What affects the outcome of your cataract surgery?

  • The skills and expertise of the Surgeon
  • The accuracy of measurements and calculations for the lens implant power (biometry)
  • The type of intra-ocular lens implant used
  • The cataract surgery equipment and technology used
  • The cooperation of the patient during the procedure
  • The natural healing process of the eye itself
  • The presence of other eye diseases may affect the prognosis of cataract surgery

How can cataract surgery change your life?

Many people have praised the life-changing effects of the procedure. Crystal clear vision is restored and vibrant colours came back to life, with the world being brighter and more vivid. The micro-incisional technique cataract surgery used by Dr David Goh, aims for a high quality of vision after surgery. In cases where the patient has existing refractive errors such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness, presbyopia (“lao hua”) or astigmatism, cataract surgery has the potential to provide better vision than previously experienced (without glasses) before cataract developed.

Dr David Goh is a fellowship-trained, specialist cataract, refractive and corneal surgeon who has performed cataract surgery for over 15 years. His ophthalmic training was mainly undertaken at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, the leading specialist eye facility in the UK, and one of the world’s principal eye centres. Since becoming a consultant at Singapore National Eye Centre in 2009, Dr Goh has built his practice and surgery around clinical excellence, reputation and trust. He aims to deliver the highest possible quality of care.

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