Cataract surgery sydney

Cataract surgery: Making your vision that much clearer

Improve your vision and live life on your own terms
Two images side by side of lanterns, one blurry, and one with clear vision after cataract surgery in Sydney
Man and woman ophthalmologists performing cataract surgery in Sydney

Cataracts

Cataracts are a common age-related eye condition that can cause blurry vision, visual disturbances such as glare and halos and difficulty seeing at night. They occur when the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy, leading to a decrease in vision quality. Cataracts develop slowly over time, but they will eventually require surgical intervention to restore clear vision.

Cataract surgery is a highly effective procedure that involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant (IOL). This surgery is performed as a day procedure and has a high success rate in improving vision. If left untreated, cataracts will continue to worsen with time, and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and ability to perform daily activities such as reading, driving, and recognizing faces.

Advanced cataract surgery techniques

Premium intraocular lenses and their benefits

Over the years, advancements in cataract surgery techniques have greatly improved outcomes and patient satisfaction. We offer the most up to date techniques and lens options, including use of premium IOLs, including multifocal and toric lenses. Beyond treating the cataract these highly advanced lenses can correct other vision problems like astigmatism or presbyopia, reducing or eliminating the need for glasses including reading glasses after surgery. The option of laser cataract surgery is also offered to our patients.

If you are interested in learning more about premium intraocular lens implants and how they can improve your vision, schedule a consultation with our experienced team of Eagle Eye Surgeons. Take the first step towards unlocking clear vision and embracing a life without visual limitations.

HOW IT WORKS

Preparing for cataract surgery – what to expect…

1

Before cataract surgery

Our Eagle Eye Surgeons will conduct a thorough eye examination to determine the severity of your cataracts and the suitability for surgery. They will also discuss the different types of IOLs available and help you choose the one that best suits your needs and lifestyle.

2

On the day of surgery

You will be given local anesthesia to numb the eye and prevent any pain or discomfort during the procedure. You will also be given a sedative to relax you and ensure your comfort. The surgeon will make a small incision in the cornea and use ultrasound technology to remove the cloudy lens. The artificial IOL will then be implanted with a self-closing incision.

3

Expectations

Cataract surgery is usually a quick procedure, typically lasting around 15-20 minutes per eye. Most patients experience minimal pain or discomfort during and after the surgery. Following the procedure, you will be given post-operative instructions and prescribed eye drops to prevent infection and promote healing. At Eagle Eye Surgeons, for suitable candidates, we offer cataract surgery to both eyes on the same day.

Lens Options

We offer traditional monofocal lens options, as well as the latest premium lens options. Our surgeons will discuss with you the best options to address your specific visual needs and preferences. The key lens options include:

1. Monofocal Lenses (Standard IOLs)

  • Provide clear vision at a single distance (usually either distance or near).
  • Often chosen for individuals who prioritize optimized vision at a specific range and are willing to use glasses for other distances.
  • Very high quality of vision at the chosen distance.
  • Minimal unwanted visual side effects.
  • Suitable for almost all individuals regardless of other eye conditions
  • Lens replacement ensures no future cataract development.

2. Toric Lenses

  • Correct astigmatism, a common condition where the cornea is irregularly shaped, leading to distorted vision.
  • Suitable for individuals with both cataracts and astigmatism.
  • Lens replacement ensures no future cataract development.

3. Extended Depth of Focus (EDOF) Lenses (Premium IOLs)

  • Aim to provide a broader range of clear vision without distinct zones.
  • Offer an intermediate vision boost while maintaining excellent distance vision.
  • Generally patients still require glasses for near vision.
  • May cause some unwanted visual disturbances (lens and patient dependant).
  • Are available in toric lens options.
  • Lens replacement ensures no future cataract development.

4. Multifocal Lenses (Premium IOLs)

  • Offer enhanced vision at multiple distances (near, intermediate, and distance) in a single lens.
  • Reduce dependency on glasses for a wide range of activities.
  • May cause some unwanted visual disturbances (lens and patient dependant).
  • Specifically night vision may be impacted with significant haloes or starbursts.
  • Decreased contrast sensitivity in both day and night settings.
  • Near vision glasses may still be required for certain activities.
  • May not be suitable for individuals with other eye conditions such as glaucoma and macular diseases.
  • Are available in toric lens options.
  • Lens replacement ensures no future cataract development.

Common concerns and side effects after cataract surgery

While cataract surgery is generally safe and well-tolerated, there are some common concerns and side effects that patients may experience during the recovery period. These include mild discomfort, itching, redness, watery eye, and temporary changes in vision. These side effects are usually temporary and subside as the eye heals.

In some cases, patients may experience complications such as swelling, or inflammation and in extremely rare instances infection. It is important to report any unusual symptoms or concerns to your surgeon immediately. With proper care and follow-up, the vast majority of patients have a smooth recovery and achieve improved vision after cataract surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cataract Surgery

Determining whether premium intraocular lens implants are the right fit for you requires a comprehensive evaluation by our Eagle Eye Surgeons. Factors such as your visual needs, lifestyle, overall eye health, and the presence of any underlying conditions will be taken into consideration. Our surgeons will perform a thorough assessment, and help you make an informed decision regarding premium intraocular lens implants and whether they are the right fit for you.

Cataract surgery is considered a very safe and highly successful operation, however, no surgery is entirely risk free. Our Eagle Eye Surgeons will cover the risks in depth during your consultation during the process of informed consent.

It is unusual to need a general anaesthetic for cataract surgery. The vast majority of our patients have surgery with a light “twilight” sedation, for comfort. We can perform the surgery under topical anaesthetic, without any need for a needle in or behind the eye. This means greater comfort and a faster recovery, with no need for an eye patch after the surgery. Because you don’t need an eye patch, you can expect to have some degree of vision the same day as surgery. However, the vision won’t generally be clear until 24 hours or more after the surgery.

The recovery time after cataract surgery varies from person to person, but most individuals experience improved vision within a few days to a week. It is normal to experience some mild discomfort, itching, or blurry vision during the initial stages of recovery. However, these symptoms usually subside as the eye heals.

To ensure a smooth recovery, it is important to follow our instructions carefully. Use the prescribed eye drops as directed and avoid rubbing or touching your eyes. During the first week we recommend that you wear a protective shield or eyeglasses to protect your eyes during sleep or other activities. We also recommend that you avoid strenuous activities, swimming, or exposure to dusty or dirty environments during the initial stages of recovery.

It is important that you attend all follow-up appointments with your Eagle Eye Surgeons to monitor your progress and address any concerns or issues that may arise. If required, approximately 4-6 weeks after surgery, your refraction and vision will have generally stabilised and you will be able to see your own optometrist to be fitted for new glasses.

The timing for resuming driving can vary but in general, most of our patients are able to drive 48 hours after their surgery, once their vision has stabilised and they feel comfortable behind the wheel.

The cost of cataract surgery varies, depending upon the type of surgery and lens you choose, and your private health cover level. Premium intraocular lenses such as multifocal or toric lenses, can provide additional benefits but may come at a higher cost. Due to these factors it is not possible to provide an accurate estimate online. At your appointment we will provide an accurate indication of all surgical costs and any out of pocket costs, before you make a decision to have the treatment.

Once you have had cataract surgery, you cannot get another cataract. Some patients may develop posterior capsule opacification (PCO), which can cause vision to become cloudy or blurred after cataract surgery. This is a common condition, occurring in roughly 30% of all cataract patients, in which residual tissue grows over the back of the newly inserted artificial lens, impairing your vision. This is only a minor concern as the condition can be simply and effectively treated with a quick one-off, in-office laser procedure, called a YAG capsulotomy, which we can provide on-site at Eagle Eye Surgeons. If your vision decreases after cataract surgery it is important that   see our surgeons to determine why, as this is one of the more common cause and is easily treatable.

Yes, monofocal lenses only correct the eye for one distance. For the majority of patients we aim for good distance vision which means that glasses will be required for intermediate and near vision following the surgery.

Monovision is when one eye (your dominant eye) is corrected for distance vision and the other eye (your non-dominant eye) is corrected for near vision. This gives functional vision for both distance and near vision, at a selected near distance focal point. It is a method of removing the need for reading glasses after cataract surgery. It is important to ensure that you are a candidate for this procedure prior to surgery particularly if you do not have pre-existing ‘natural’ monovision. To ensure you are a candidate our Eagle Eye Surgeons or in-house optometrist may recommend a contact lens trial to ensure you can tolerate monovision prior to surgery.

Some residual refractive error may occur after cataract surgery and we can not always guarantee that you will be glasses free after lens surgery. Dr. Darian-Smith is a fellowship trained laser refractive surgeon. This means that when appropriate Dr Erica can perform a minor corneal laser procedure to optimize your vision following surgery. This enhancement will treat any residual refractive error. If this is needed, we will perform this free of charge, up to one year after premium cataract surgery.

If a toric lens is inserted, it requires precise alignment to achieve optimal visual outcomes. Our Eagle Eye surgeons will insert toric IOLs at a specific orientation within the eye, this orientation must be maintained for effective astigmatism correction. Our surgeons will carefully calculate the axis of your astigmatism and position the toric IOL accordingly during the cataract surgery, guided by highly accurate surgical microscope viewing technology. This precise positioning ensures that the toric IOL’s cylindrical power aligns with the direction of astigmatism, correcting the irregular corneal or lens shape.

Complex Intraocular Lens surgery and Lens Exchange

Complex Intraocular Lens Surgery

Usually cataract surgery is able to be performed with a new prosthetic lens inserted in the same position as the old lens, with good refractive results. There are some instances where the surgery may be more complicated because of pre-existing issues with the lens, or other parts of the eye. In other very rare situations there may be issues with a lens implant that was previously inserted. Dr Mitchell Lee is fellowship trained and has a special interest in complex anterior segment surgery and vitreoretinal surgery. Dr Lee is experienced in the most up to date surgical techniques for managing these challenging cases, including rescue procedures for dislocated lens implants, lens explantations, sutureless scleral lens (Yamane technique), and sutured scleral lens.

Our Eagle Eye Surgeons are committed to ensuring the best outcome for our patients with complex intraocular lens problems. Our expertise in the areas of vitreoretinal surgery, complex anterior segment surgery, and laser refractive surgery allows us to provide patients with the best chance to regain both their vision, and their spectacle independence despite these rare and difficult conditions.

Surgical Options

The Yamane technique is a significant breakthrough in intraocular lens surgery, often useful in cases where conventional approaches are not feasible. Unlike traditional methods that involve sutures to secure the IOL, the Yamane technique focuses on a sutureless approach, reducing postoperative complications and improving patient recovery.

The procedure involves fixating the IOL haptics (support arms for the lens implant) securely within the sclera in the absence of glue or sutures. This technique offers several advantages, such as reduced inflammation, improved stability, and faster visual recovery. Patients undergoing the Yamane technique can expect a quicker return to normal activities and a lower risk of complications associated with suture-related issues. It is a technically complex procedure that is most suitable for dislocated 3-piece intraocular lens implants, allowing minimally invasive surgery to rescue the existing implant.

While the Yamane technique eliminates the need for sutures, sutured scleral lenses remain the most suitable option for many complex lens replacement patients.. Suturing an intraocular lens may be necessary in instances where the anatomy of the eye or the specific condition of the patient requires additional support for the lens.

Sutured scleral lenses involve securing the IOL to the sclera, the white outer coat of the eye, using fine sutures. This technique provides stability and prevents the IOL from shifting within the eye. Although sutures introduce a potential source of complications, they are meticulously placed to minimize the risk of irritation or inflammation.

Patients considering sutured scleral lens surgery should schedule an appointment with Dr Mitch to discuss the pros and cons and to determine the most suitable approach based on their individual circumstances.

In some cases, complications after post-cataract surgery or lens implantation may require the removal of a lens implant. Reasons for this can include lens  dislocation or abnormal positioning (decentration), or occasionally when there are optical issues with the existing lens implant.

Lens explantation is a highly complex surgical procedure that requires precision to minimize trauma to the eye. Patients undergoing this procedure should understand that the decision to explant a lens is typically made to improve visual outcomes and reduce the risk of long-term complications. Dr Mitch will carefully evaluate the need for lens explantation and discuss alternative options when appropriate.

Post complex IOL surgery Laser Enhancement

After complex intraocular lens surgery, the refraction is not as reliable as when standard cataract surgery is able to be performed. This may impact the clarity of vision and the need for glasses after surgery.

If you experience persistent refractive errors post-surgery requiring glasses, we can assess whether you are a candidate for a laser enhancement to help improve your refractive status. Laser enhancements are generally safe and effective, and may help you achieve your full vision potential, even after complex lens surgery.

Posterior capsular opacification and YAG laser treatment

Laser YAG Capsulotomy:
Everything You Need to Know

YAG Capsulotomy

YAG laser capsulotomy is a relatively safe and effective treatment option for a condition called posterior capsule opacification (PCO), which can cause vision to become cloudy or blurred. This is common after cataract surgery and is easily treated. Our Eagle Eye Surgeons use laser technology to create a small opening in the cloudy posterior capsule of the eye, allowing light to pass through unimpeded and improving vision. This is a quick, one-time, very safe procedure performed in our clinic.

Reasons for YAG capsulotomy

The reason for undergoing YAG laser capsulotomy is the development of posterior capsule opacification (PCO) following cataract surgery. In approximately 30% of patients after cataract surgery the posterior capsule of the eye which is next to the lens becomes cloudy or thickened, causing vision to become hazy or blurred. This can occur weeks, months, or even years after cataract surgery.

The procedure

Before the procedure, your eye will be dilated with eye drops to ensure a clear view of the posterior capsule. Your ophthalmologist will place a contact lens on the eye to focus the laser beam. The YAG laser will then be used to create a small opening in the posterior capsule. We will discuss any risks of the procedure with you during the informed consent process.

Frequently Asked Questions about YAG Laser Capsulotomy

The actual YAG laser capsulotomy procedure itself only takes a few minutes to complete. The overall time spent at the clinic is longer including pre-procedure preparations, such as dilation of the eye, and post-procedure observation. Expect to spend around one hour at the clinic for the entire process.

During the YAG capsulotomy procedure there should be no discomfort. The eye will be numbed with eye drops, eliminating any pain during the laser treatment. You may feel a slight pressure sensation or see flashes of light during the procedure. This is normal. Our Eagle Eye Surgeons will guide you through the process, ensuring your comfort and safety throughout.

Following YAG capsulotomy, you can typically  resume normal activities almost immediately. Expect your vision to rapidly improve as the dilating eye drops wear off. The eye may be slightly red or irritated for a few hours after the procedure, but this is temporary and should resolve on its own. Some patients report new “floaters” in the vision, which will generally resolve over days to weeks following treatment.

While YAG capsulotomy is generally considered safe, there are some potential risks and complications associated with the procedure. These may include increased eye pressure, inflammation, and extremely rarely retinal tears, retinal detachment, and/or damage to the lens or other structures of the eye. The incidence of these complications is very low, and as a rule the procedure is very safe and well-tolerated.

YAG capsulotomy has a high success rate, with almost all patients experiencing significant improvement in visual clarity after the procedure.

You cannot drive immediately after the procedure, otherwise there are no ongoing restrictions post laser treatment.

If you are experiencing cloudy or blurred vision after cataract surgery, consult with our ophthalmologists to determine if YAG capsulotomy is the right treatment option for you. Book an appointment today at Eagle Eye Surgeons.

Book an appointment with our team at Eagle Eye Surgeons

If you are experiencing cloudy or blurred vision after cataract surgery, consult with our ophthalmologists to determine if YAG capsulotomy is the right treatment option for you. Book an appointment today at Eagle Eye Surgeons.