Cataract Surgery
Brisbane

Cataract Surgery Brisbane

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in adults across the globe. When a cataract starts causing vision problems that interfere with day to day activities, it may be time to consider surgical removal.

A cataract is a cloudy area that develops in the lens of your eye. This can occur in one or both eyes. People with a cataract may describe their vision as attempting to look through a fogged-up or frosty window. Such cloudy vision can make it different to complete various activities, such as driving, reading, and seeing people’s facial expressions.

Cataracts are very common as you age, and over 70% of Australians aged 80 or over have the disease. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in adults worldwide. However, older people are not the only ones who can develop cataracts. Many younger people are diagnosed with a cataract each year, and in some cases, babies can even be born with a cataract.

Usually, a cataract will develop slowly, so you may not notice any changes in your vision early on. However, as your cataract worsens, so will your vision. While glasses and better lighting may help you deal with a cataract at first, most patients will eventually require cataract surgery.

Cataracts can affect people in various different ways. In fact, there are six different types of cataracts, which have distinct causes, effects, and appearances.

Nuclear Cataracts
This is the most common type of cataract, which develops when the centre of the lens begins to harden and turn yellow. Nuclear cataracts can make it hard to see in areas with poor lightening and cause difficulties driving.

Cortical Cataracts
This type of cataract develops from the outside edge of the lens and grow inwards. Cortical cataracts tend to scatter light, which can cause glares and halos and cause issues with both near and far vision. People with diabetes are at particular risk of developing cortical cataracts.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts
Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts develop on the back surface of the lens and cause patients to see halos and glares around lights. Such cataracts often develop more quickly and are frequently seen in patients with diabetes.

Paediatric Cataracts
In some cases, babies can be born with a cataract (congenital cataracts), usually as a result of genetic issues or pregnancy complications. Other times, children can develop a cataract later on. Either way, if a paediatric cataract is large enough to impact vision, it should be removed immediately to avoid the child developing other vision problems, such as a lazy eye.

Radiation Cataracts
As the name suggests, radiation cataracts are caused by certain types of radiation. Such cataracts may develop as a result of frequent exposure to UV rays from the sun or from radiation treatment for cancer.

Traumatic Cataracts
In addition to ageing and UV rays, severe eye injuries can also damage the lens and cause a cataract. Traumatic cataracts may develop quickly after the injury or not form until years later.

What causes a cataract?

Most types of cataracts develop as a result of normal changes that occur in the eyes with age. When we are young, the lens of the eye is clear. However, as we age, the lens becomes less flexible, less transparent, and thicker.
At around the age of 40, the proteins in the lens of the eye begin to break down and clump together. This creates a cloudy area on the lens, or a cataract. As a cataract continues to develop, the clouding will become denser and begin to cover more of the lens. This will scatter and block light as it passes through the lens of your eye and prevents a sharply defined image from reaching the retina. As a result, your vision will begin to blur.
In addition to age, there are numerous other risk factors for cataracts. This includes certain health problems, such as diabetes, smoking, excessive drinking, a family history of cataracts, previous eye injuries, excessive sun exposure and steroid use.

When a cataract first develops, it may only affect a small part of the lens, and you may not notice any changes in vision. However, as the cataract grows larger, it will begin to cloud more of the lens and distort any light passing through. This may lead to more noticeable vision changes, such as:

  • Clouded, blurred or dim vision
  • Light and glare sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Fading or yellowing of colours
  • Double vision
  • You see a halo around lights
  • Requiring a brighter light for reading
  • You need to change your glasses or contact lens prescription more frequently

If you experience any of the above symptoms, please get in touch with the Valley Eye Specialists in Brisbane to determine whether you may benefit from cataract surgery.

There are numerous measures that you take to protect your eyes and delay the development of a cataract. For one, we suggest that you quit smoking and delay your consumption of alcohol. Switch to a healthier, more balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure that you are getting enough of the vitamins and nutrients that help maintain the health of your eyes. Additionally, be sure to wear sunglasses when outdoors to protect your eyes from the harsh UV rays.

However, the most important thing that you can do is have regular eye examinations. A dilated eye exam can help detect cataracts and other eye diseases at their earliest stage, which is critical in preventing permanent vision loss. If you are over 60 years old, you should have an eye exam at least once every 12 months.

A cataract can be diagnosed during a routine dilated eye exam. Your ophthalmologist will widen your pupils with eye drops before checking your eyes for cataracts and other eye diseases. If they detect a cataract, they may also examine your eyes with a slit lamp, which can better show the location and pattern of the cataract. In some cases, you may require a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound to examine the back of the eye.

If you think that you may have a cataract, please get in touch with the Valley Eye Specialists in Brisbane, who can diagnose your cataract and determine an appropriate treatment plan.

The only way to remove a cataract is through surgery. However, not all patients require surgery right away. Your Valley Eye Specialist will help determine when surgery is necessary and help you manage your cataracts in the meantime.

If your cataract is only in its early stages of development, you may be able to make small lifestyle changes to better your vision. This may include things like using brighter lights at work or home, using a magnifying glass to read, and wearing anti-glare sunglasses. Your ophthalmologist may also prescribe you new eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Keep in mind that if your ophthalmologist does delay surgery, you will still need to keep a close eye on how your cataract impacts your vision. If your cataract begins to interfere with your vision to the point that it disrupts your daily routine, it may be time to consider surgery.

Cataract surgery at Valley Eye Clinic Brisbane

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures worldwide and involves removing the clouded lens with microscopic ultrasound techniques and replacing it with a new, artificial lens. This procedure has a high success rate: nine out of ten people who have cataract surgery report an improvement in their vision afterwards. Here is what you can expect before, during and after your cataract surgery.

As a minimally invasive procedure, cataract surgery requires minimal preparation. Your cataract surgeon will provide you with general pre-operative instructions that may include fasting before surgery, avoiding certain medications, or using antibiotic eye drops in the days beforehand. Another thing to keep in mind is that you will not be able to drive after surgery due to the light sedation, so you will need to arrange alternative transportation to and from the clinic. As a minimally invasive procedure, cataract surgery requires minimal preparation. Your cataract surgeon will provide you with general pre-operative instructions that may include fasting before surgery, avoiding certain medications, or using antibiotic eye drops in the days beforehand. Another thing to keep in mind is that you will not be able to drive after surgery due to the light sedation, so you will need to arrange alternative transportation to and from the clinic.

During your cataract surgery, your Valley Eye Specialist will insert an intraocular lens. Thus, to determine which lens implant will work best for you, you will need to undergo tests before surgery to measure the size and shape of your eye.

During your cataract surgery, your Valley Eye Specialist will insert an intraocular lens. Thus, to determine which lens implant will work best for you, you will need to undergo tests before surgery to measure the size and shape of your eye.

Cataract surgery is a relatively simple, quick procedure that takes around an hour to complete. You can expect your cataract removal procedure to comprise of the following steps:

Firstly, your Valley Eye Specialist will administer a light anaesthetic and give you a sedative to ensure your comfort during the procedure. Your cataract surgeon will then clean the eyes and the surrounding areas to prepare them for surgery.

Once prepped, your cataract surgeon will make a small incision in the cornea. Through this incision, they will insert a needle-thin probe into the lens of your eye, where the cataract has formed. This probe will transmit ultrasound waves, which works to emulsify the cataract and suction out the fragments. Once removed, your cataract surgeon will implant your new artificial lens into the now empty capsule. Your incisions are self-sealing and usually do not require any stitches.

What can I expect during my cataract surgery recovery?

Following your cataract removal, your cataract surgeon will cover your eye with a sterile patch to protect your eyes, which you will need to wear for a few days. Most patients report an improvement in vision within just a few days, although you may experience some mild blurriness as your eye adjusts to the intraocular lens.
After your anaesthetic has worn off, it is normal to experience some mild discomfort and itchiness. Your cataract surgeon may prescribe eye drops or oral medication to prevent infection, reduce inflammation and control eye pressure. However, any persistent pain, increased redness and swelling, light flashes, or vision loss during your recovery should be reported to your cataract surgeon immediately.
Ultimately, recovery from cataract surgery is relatively easy, and you should be able to return to work within a few days. Complete healing from the procedure usually occurs within four to eight weeks. Regardless, your cataract surgeon will give you comprehensive recovery and aftercare instructions, including how to clean the area, which antibiotics to take and when to return to the practice for a follow-up visit.

Are there any risks involved with cataract removal surgery?

All surgical procedures have risks, including cataract surgery. However, complications are infrequent, and your cataract surgeon will go through them with you before your procedure. Some of the potential risks to be aware of include:
  • Inflammation
  • Infection
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Dislocation of artificial lens
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Development of a secondary cataract
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal detachment
  • Loss of vision
Please note that the risk of complications is more significant in patients who suffer from other eye diseases or other serious medical conditions.

Why Valley Eye?

At Valley Eye, our specialist ophthalmologists strive to provide personalised, exceptional ophthalmic care for infants, children, and adults alike. Well experienced in cataract vision, our specialists can help you restore the vision you once had. If you suspect that you may have a cataract, please get in touch to visit one of our ophthalmologists at our conveniently located Brisbane practice.

Meet Our Ophthalmologists

Dr Camuglia is a General Adult and Paediatric Ophthalmologist with subspecialist fellowship training in …

Dr Jayne Camuglia

BSc MBBS FRANZCO

Dr Dai is an experienced Paediatric Ophthalmologist and Strabismus Surgeon, and is the current Director of Ophthalmology …

Associate Professor Shuan Dai

MBBS FRANZCO

Dr Pappalardo began her medical studies at the University of Queensland School of Medicine …

Dr Juanita Pappalardo

BPharm MBBS FRANZCO

Dr Richa Sharma is an experienced General Ophthalmologist with subspecialty fellowship training in Paediatric Ophthalmology …

Dr Richa Sharma

MBBS MS FRANZCO

Born in country Queensland, Dr Jaclyn White was raised and educated in Brisbane. She commenced her tertiary studies at QUT …

Dr Jaclyn White

BAppSc MBBS FRANZCO

Professor Gole is an experienced Paediatric Ophthalmologist and Strabismus Surgeon, who holds …

Professor Glen A Gole

MBBS MD (NSW) FRANZCO FRACS FRCOphth (Lond)

Dr Denis Stark is a Queensland medical graduate who trained as an ophthalmologist in Brisbane and Glasgow, Scotland …

Dr Denis Stark

MBBS(Qld) FRCS (Edin) FRANZCO