Cataract is among the leading causes of preventable blindness worldwide.
According to the World Health Organization, 94 million people globally have cataracts. But what happens when you have cataract, how does it lead to blindness, and how can we prevent the blindness it causes?
“Cataract is the clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye,” says Asian Eye Institute glaucoma and cataract specialist Dr. Edgar Leuenberger. “It progresses very slowly, so you won’t notice it at first. As it grows or advances, it will start to block the light that passes through the lens in your eye. Your vision will start to get blurry and you may find it difficult to read, see a person’s face clearly or drive at night.”
He adds: “Some patients may also be sensitive to light, see halos around lights, see faded colors, and have to change their eyeglasses a bit more frequently.”
An age-related eye condition, it is common in people over 60 years old. However, young adults and even infants and children can have it, too.
Leuenberger shares: “You are at higher risk of developing cataracts if you have a family member who has or has had it, and if you have diabetes, are always exposed to sunlight, have had an eye injury or surgery, have high blood pressure and have used corticosteroid medications.”
Two types of surgeries
Only cataract surgery can remove cataracts. The procedure involves removing the natural lens with cataract and replacing it with an artificial lens called intraocular lens (IOL).
At present, there are two types of cataract surgeries—conventional cataract surgery and the VICTUS femtolaser cataract surgery.
Leuenberger explains: “With the conventional cataract surgery, we use instruments to manually create an incision on the cornea, create an opening on the capsule to access the cataract and break the cataract into small pieces. The VICTUS femtolaser cataract surgery, on the other hand, is laser-assisted; the laser will do these three critical steps.”
Since the VICTUS femtolaser technology makes the procedure easier and faster, patients experience fast healing and reduced risk of getting eye inflammation. The laser creates an almost perfectly round opening in the capsule of the cataract, providing a more stable position to place the IOL.
Asian Eye is the only eye care facility in the Philippines with the VICTUS femtolaser by German brand Bausch + Lomb Technolas.
‘Proven safe and effective’
“The choice as to whether they will undergo conventional or laser-assisted cataract surgery is really up to the patient. Both types of surgeries are proven safe and effective. These are outpatient, which means they can go home after the surgery,” says Leuenberger.
A cataract screening is needed before undergoing the surgery. Leuenberger notes: “We consider a lot factors before doing the surgery. First, we need to determine the type and extent of the cataract, so we can recommend the IOL that is appropriate for the patient’s eye condition and lifestyle. We need to examine their overall eye condition and see if they have other eye problems that may be interfering with their vision.”
There are different types of IOLs available. These include the monofocal IOLs that provide the best possible vision at one distance, multifocal and accommodative IOLs that can correct vision at all distances, and toric IOLs to correct significant astigmatism.
Asian Eye Institute has clinics in Rockwell Makati, TriNoma, SM Mall of Asia and Commercenter Alabang. For inquiries or appointments, or to learn more about cataracts and IOLs, call 8-898-2020 or visit www.asianeyeinstitute.com. (Story/Photos by: Charizze Henson)