Surgery for cataract with lens implant is highly effective for restoring vision. The operation is performed under local anaesthetic so is well-tolerated by older patients and can be done when there are health issues that would prevent a general anaesthesia. The natural lens is surgically removed and replaced with a synthetic, artificial lens for focusing power.
This is a relatively short operation. Using sutureless microsurgery, the cataract is removed and a new artificial lens is placed inside the eye. The restoration of sight and having good functional vision is important for all but particularly important in older patients as it improves quality of life and reduces the risk of falls and injuries.
One study in the United Kingdom showed that half of all patients admitted to hospital with hip fractures after a fall had visual impairment. Half of these visual impairments were caused by cataract. The study also showed that patients are at risk of falls while waiting for cataract surgery; 34 percent experienced a fall while on waiting lists, showing it’s worthwhile doing surgery as early as possible.
Good visual function requires clear focused vision, ideally without the continued need for glasses. Multifocal glasses have also been associated with falls. Lens implantation through cataract surgery corrects the eye’s focusing and gives functional vision. When monovision or multifocal or EDOF lenses are used, vision can be restored for both distance and near vision.
Cataract surgery today offers more than simply ‘curing the cataract’ by removing it.
Surgery provides an opportunity to improve visual function to be better than it has been for many years; with the right lens implant, patients who wore glasses before surgery often don’t need them afterwards.