Cataracts are a common occurrence and are not just due to aging and often require surgery. Ormiston Hospital works with leading Ophthalmologists including the Eye Doctors, to help improve clearer vision for our patients. If you are experiencing any symptoms of a cataract it is recommended that you visit your GP or an eye specialist for a diagnosis.
Cataracts cause a cloudiness of the eye’s crystalline lens, and common causes are due to aging, disease, or trauma. This cloudiness typically prevents light from forming a clear image on the retina, so to people with cataracts the world looks very blurry.
Why do cataracts develop?
Typically, cataracts develop as a normal part of the aging process. By the age of 70 nearly everyone has some degree of cataract formation. Sometimes cataracts may develop at a younger age due to other diseases like diabetes, following an eye injury, or due to specific medications like steroids.
How do I know if I have a cataract?
- Glare and sensitivity to bright light
- Haloes around lights
- Near vision without glasses can improve with mild cataracts
- Vision then typically becomes more blurred, foggy, and sometimes doubled over time
- Colours have changed – i.e. become duller and darker
What does cataract surgery involve?
Modern cataract surgery restores the eyesight lost due to cataract by removing the cloudy lens in the eye and replacing it with a clear artificial lens implant. An Opthamologist will utilise a combination of latest small incision techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to give the fastest recovery and best possible vision. Cataract surgery is carried out under topical, local or (very rarely) general anaesthesia. This means you are not at Ormiston Hospital for long and can be done in a day stay procedure, it is important you have a carer look after you for your return home.
How long does cataract surgery take?
The procedure itself generally takes from ten to 20 minutes. You will go home the same day, after spending two to three hours in Ormiston Hospital.
How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?
A patch may be is worn overnight following surgery and you are advised not to drive until given clearance by your surgeon, which is often the next day. Whilst rubbing your eye, very strenuous activity and swimming should be avoided for one week, you can resume most other activities straight away.
Is cataract surgery safe?
Removal of a cataract is the most common eye operation and one of the most common surgical procedures performed in New Zealand. It has a very high success rate due to the modern methods used by Eye Doctors. Like any operation there is a small risk of complications, during and after the surgery that your surgeon will discuss with you. It is important to contact Eye Doctors if you have any concerns about the eye following surgery.
What lenses are used?
A variety of intraocular lenses are available for people having a cataract operation. Your surgeon will discuss your options and recommend which lens is best for your requirements.
Is cataract surgery covered by insurance?
Yes, Ormiston Hospital is affiliated providers to Southern Cross (and most other insurers) which means that there is no need for prior approval, no money up front for surgery and the insurer pays directly.
Ask for a referral today from you GP if you have any concerns.