Contemporary cataract surgery includes removal of the contents of the eye lens and its replacement with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery is performed under microscopic control and with local anaesthesia in adults. A special ultrasound apparatus – facoemulsificator – is used for the removal of the dimmed eye lens. An artificial lens is usually inserted into the “capsule bag” of the natural lens. The artificial lens is made of special plastic and there is no risk of aging or wearing out of the artificial lens.
After cataract surgery when an ordinary or monofocal artificial lens has been inserted into the eye, it loses its ability of “accommodation” – this means that the eye does not adjust itself for seeing sharply both at long and short distances as the artificial lens does not change its shape. Therefore, an eye with a monofocal artificial lens that sees well at long distances needs eyeglasses for seeing close objects (e.g. when reading or using a computer). Or, if an artificial lens has been chosen so that the patient does not need eyeglasses for reading, then he she/needs eyeglasses for seeing distant objects.
Besides monofocal artificial lenses it is nowadays possible to choose between different specific lenses.
- Toric lenses are used for the correction of astigmatism or “cylinders”.
- Multifocal lenses make it possible to see without eyeglasses at all distances.
- Multifocal toric lenses correct all possible refraction disorders at the same time.
After surgery an eye usually needs 3 weeks of postoperative therapy with eye drops and the visual acuity stabilises at its definite level about 3 to 4 weeks after surgery. Therefore, it is not practical to obtain a prescription for new eyeglasses before this period of time elapses, except for cases when this is inevitable.
The duration of working inability after surgery depends upon your profession and your doctor will advise you regarding this taking into account your individual needs. However, it has to be kept in mind that even ideally performed cataract surgery will not improve the visual acuity of the eye when accompanying diseases like glaucoma or macular degeneration have damaged an eye.