View Full Version : So, my wife has cataracts
Mr. Blue Sky
03-12-2005, 03:06 PM
Mrs. Blue Sky went to the eye doctor yesterday because she's been having some trouble with her vision. She had gotten bifocals a couple of years ago and thought she just needed a new prescription.
The doctor tells her she has a cataract in her right eye and one just starting to form in her left!
He told to start taking a multi-vitamin daily and to be sure to wear sunglasses outdoors.
I Googled around a bit and it seems that cataracts are no longer the big worry they used to be.
The doc told her that the removal procedure was quick and painless. He told her to return if the cataract became annoying and he would do the surgery.
Since the doctor didn't seem to be overly worried, she's not either.
I, OTOH, will have to do the worrying for both of us.
Any Dopers have cataracts? How did/do you deal with them?
03-12-2005, 03:26 PM
well, my MIL, who is in her 70s, just had hers removed, and she doesn't have to wear glasses any more except for close work. She had no probs with the surgery at all. I do'nt think you have to waste any energy worrying.
My mother had cataracts in both eyes removed, oh, about a decade ago or so. It was pretty easy-I got to watch on video camera (you could even buy a tape of it if you wanted). The doctor broke up the old lens sonically and vacuumed it out through a tiny slit in the sclera then popped in an artificial lens, moved it into position, and anchored it. The only part that bothered her at all was wearing a little protective eyepatch at night for a few days while her eye healed. (She had each eye done at different times.) The whole procedure took about ten minutes. Mom's been nearsighted since she was a kid but she doesn't need glasses all the time anymore.
03-12-2005, 05:36 PM
I was born with congenital cataracts and had the lenses removed and replaced with implants when I was a teenager. It's really pretty routine surgery these days; they even do it under local anesthesia.
(Incidentally, being awake while someone is messing around with your eyeball is a truly unusual experience. I was pretty semi-conscious, though, so I don't remember most of it.)
03-13-2005, 02:37 AM
I had cataracts develop at 31 and they were removed at 32 when they were too bad for me to see my kid or read one more than a word at a time. I had one done then the other, a week apart. Because I have bad eczema on my face and can't control my scratching when I am asleep, (15 years of steroid creams which probably caused the cataracts in the first place) and at the time I had a not quite two year old who was very rough and could not understand that I couldn't be manhandled or climbed up, I stayed in hospital to have it done. The doctors were concerned that they get it right, me being relatively young. If I hadn't had the kid then I'd have had it done on a day surgery basis. As it was they gave me huge amounts of sleeping pills, the metal eye protector and a bandage over all each night for three nights to keep my hands off it! It worked very well.
I went from being unable to see more than a few feet ahead of me, to almost perfect vision with glasses. It has gone off a bit in the past 6 years but still with glasses I can see fine, drive, do close work, etc. Last year I needed the back capsule of one eye burning through with a laser as cells were growing on it and clouding my vision again. It took five minutes and was painless.
There isn't a day goes by that I don't feel grateful that I had the surgery done.
03-13-2005, 06:19 AM
Sat in on a cataract removal last week (medical student).
It's done under local anaesthesia (injections around the eyeball) and the patient has the option of being sedated or not (a Valium, nothing stronger is required).
The procedure is called a phaco-emulsification with intra-ocular lens placement.
Here's how it works:
They cover you up with drapes, so that nothing but the eye they're working on is exposed (sedation would be good if you're claustrophobic).
Next they anaesthetise the eye with injections and drops and use a speculum to hold it open.
Then a tiny incision is made on the sclera (the white of the eye) just next to the edge of the iris (the coloured part). If you were to visualise the eye the incision would go from 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock, it's that small.
Next they pierce the lense capsule through the incision and insert an ultrasound probe into the capsule. The probe is about the width of a biro tip, it emits an ultrasound pulse which break up the lens into fragments, and these are sucked out.
Finally an artificial lens, about the size of a contact lens is placed into the capsule and the probe is removed.
There are no stitches, just drops and creams to keep the surface of the eye clean and moist.
The eye is bandaged and the patient sent back to the ward.
The whole thing would take about 20-30 minutes, from being wheeled into theatre, to being wheeled out.
90% of people are able to achieve 6/12 vision (that's the 4th line on the chart) or better with glasses afterwards. The main complications are infection, rupture of the lens capsule (which has to be treated with another operation and a new lens), or opacification of the back part of the capsule which is treated with laser - like Hokkaido Brit.
Hope that helps, my mother is developing a cataract in one eye and will probably need surgery in about 10 years, so I found this stuff out for her. She remembers her father' cataract surgery from the days before they put lenses into the eye, and i was able to tll her that it's much improved since.
03-13-2005, 10:21 PM
My mom, nearly 79, just had that surgery done on her right eye a few months ago. When the left one gets bad enough, they'll do that one too.
She is quite happy with her new "bionic eye." The whole procedure only took a few hours.
03-14-2005, 08:11 AM
I don't yet. But exect to get them. Mom had them at a very early age (in her teens.) Dad had them, both Grandmas had them. My sister has "the beginnings of one" (whatever that means.) I have researched it enough to know that I am glad to know that when the operate on me, it will so much better than when they did Mom. In any case, it is usually a simple out patient procedure and relatively painless.
03-14-2005, 08:22 AM
My sister has "the beginnings of one" (whatever that means.)
The "beginnings" of a cataract basically means that her lens is a little cloudy, but not too much of a bother. The lens can start becoming cloudy in the edge of the vision or in the center; obviously the center is more of a pain as it more directly interferes with vision. Cataracts typically - but not always - take a while to develop, increasing the lens' opacity over time.
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