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Cataract FAQs

Following are the common questions about Cataract:

  1. What is cataract?
  2. Does cataract occur only in older people?
  3. What are the common symptoms of cataract?
  4. How are cataracts diagnosed?
  5. What are the different types of cataracts?
  6. What is the best treatment method for cataracts?
  7. What is cataract surgery?
  8. Is it okay to wait for a while before having cataract surgery?
  9. How is cataract treated?
  10. What are the different types of cataract surgeries?
  11. Are glasses or contact lenses needed after cataract surgery?
  12. How much does cataract surgery cost?
  13. Is cataract surgery covered under insurance?
  14. What are the potential side effects of cataract surgery?
  15. How long will it take to recover after cataract treatment?

Q. What is cataract?

A. Cataract is a medical condition in which the eye lens starts to become cloudy due to protein deposition. When the eye lens becomes cloudy, a clear image of the objects does not form in front of the retina. Thus, the vision becomes unclear or blurry. Over time, the clouding will continue to increase and cover the entire lens causing permanent blindness. Therefore, it is critical to get cataract treatment on time.

Q. Does cataract occur only in older people?

A. Usually, cataracts develop in older people or people over the age of 50. However, a specific type of cataract, called congenital cataract, affects infants and children due to certain infections, metabolic problems, diabetes, trauma, inflammation, or as a reaction to some medicine or drug.

Q. What are the common symptoms of cataract?

A. Cataracts usually exhibit the following symptoms-

  • Foggy, blurry, & cloudy vision
  • Sensitivity to sunlight or any other bright light
  • Glares around light sources
  • Difficulty in seeing at night
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription
  • Yellowish vision

Overall, you will have a difficult time seeing clearly.

Q. How are cataracts diagnosed?

A. Cataracts can be diagnosed through the following tests-

  • Visual acuity and refraction test to examine the sharpness and clarity of the vision.
  • Slit-lamp examination that illuminates the internal components of the eye making it easier to check the lens under magnification.
  • Retinal examination to check whether the light rays can reach the retina or not. If light is not falling over the retina, it indicates the clouding of the lens.

In the advanced stages of cataracts, the cloudiness of the lens can be seen without using any equipment.

Q. What are the different types of cataracts?

A. The different types of cataract are-

  • Nuclear cataracts that starts from the center of the lens
  • Cortical cataracts that appears on the outer edges of the cortex lens
  • Posterior subcapsular cataract that originates at the back of the lens and then progress to the front side
  • Congenital cataract that occurs due to eye trauma, genetics, or infections.
  • Secondary cataracts caused by medicines or some other drugs
  • Traumatic cataracts that occur after an injury and may take years to develop.
  • Radiation cataracts start to form after a person receives radiation treatment for cancer.

Q. What is the best treatment method for cataracts?

A. The best and only treatment method for cataracts is cataract surgery. There are no medicines available that can help to treat cataract or slow down the progression. To remove the cloudy lens, the eye specialist will recommend cataract surgery.

Q. What is cataract surgery?

A. Cataract surgery is the procedure of removing the clouded eye lens and replacing it with an artificial lens, called intraocular lens. The procedure is also known as lens replacement surgery and involves implanting the artificial lens to restore the vision. The surgery is performed on a daycare basis and successfully restores vision with minimal complications.

Q. Is it okay to wait for a while before having cataract surgery?

A. The doctor usually monitors the progress ion of the cataract before recommending surgical treatment. If the cataract is in a mild stage, it will have little or no effect on the vision. Some cataracts don’t progress whereas others progress very quickly. Therefore, the doctor will suggest waiting and monitoring the progression of the disease.

Cataract removal surgery is considered the right choice when the cataract has advanced to the stage where it causes vision problems and starts affecting everyday activities.

Q. How is cataract treated?

A. Cataracts are treated through cataract surgery which is performed as below-

  • A small incision is created in the corneal flap and a hole is cut in the anterior capsule that encloses the eye lens.
  • Usually, phacoemulsification is used to break the lens into smaller pieces and removed carefully.
  • The intraocular lens is then implanted in the anterior capsule to restore the vision.
  • The flap is closed and the eye is left to heal on its own without stitches.

Q. What are the different types of cataract surgeries?

A. Due to the advancements in the technology, there are various techniques available to perform cataract surgery. The most common techniques are-

  • Micro-incision cataract surgery (MICS)
  • Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS)
  • Phacoemulsification
  • Extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE)

Q. Are glasses or contact lenses needed after cataract surgery?

A. After cataract surgery, most people don’t need visual aids as the surgery addresses cataracts as well as refractive errors. Therefore, the person will regain clear vision and won’t have to wear glasses or contact lenses to see clearly.

However, there are different types of IOLs available, including monofocal, multifocal, trifocal, and toric lenses that address refractive errors along with cataracts. The need for visual aid after surgery is determined based on the type of lens the patient chooses. Glasses or contact lenses may be required if the patient decides to get a monofocal lens as the replacement.

Q. How much does cataract surgery cost?

A. On average, cataract surgery cost ranges from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 70,000 per eye. The cost of cataract surgery varies from one patient to another as it depends on various factors. These factors include-

  • The type of cataract the patient has
  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Choice of Intraocular lens (IOLs)
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Hospital admission, discharge, and bed charges
  • Post-surgery care and support
  • Follow-up consultations

Q. Is cataract surgery covered under insurance?

A. Yes. Cataract is a serious medical condition that can cause permanent blindness. Therefore, its treatment is considered medically necessary. Most of the insurance companies provide a plan that has ample coverage for cataract treatment. However, you should know that the cost of a premium lens may not be covered by all policies. Thus, you will have to bear the additional expenses from your own pocket.

Q. What are the potential side effects of cataract surgery?

A. The potential complications that can arise during or after the surgery-

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Dislocation of the artificial lens
  • Inflammation in the eyes
  • Vision loss
  • Glaucoma

Q. How long will it take to recover after cataract treatment?

A. The recovery after cataract surgery is usually quick and smooth. Depending on your healing abilities, you will be able to recover within 4-6 weeks. There will be some after effects, like soreness or discomfort in the next few days after surgery. And they will also resolve within a week or so. Still, during the recovery period, the doctor will ask you to take the necessary precautions to reduce the chances of post-surgery complications.