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Cataract Surgery

Cataract Surgery - What it is

Cataract is a condition when the natural lens in your eye becomes progressively cloudy.

normal vision without the need of cataract surgery
Normal Vision

cataract affected vision with the need of cataract surgery
Vision with Cataract

Cataract Surgery - Symptoms

The most common symptoms of a cataract are:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Colours seem faded
  • Glare and haloes
  • Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses (“power” keeps changing)

These symptoms can also be a sign of other eye problems. If you have any of these symptoms, check with your ophthalmologist.

Cataract Surgery - How to prevent?

There is no scientifically proven prevention. However, you can delay early onset cataracts with the following:

  • Protecting your eyes from ultra-violet (UV) light by wearing sunglasses
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Treating diseases such as diabetes
  • Refraining from smoking

Cataract Surgery - Causes and Risk Factors

What causes Cataract?

The most common cause of cataract is ageing.

The two preventable causes of cataract formation would be:

  • Smoking
  • UV radiation (sunlight) exposure

Cataract can also occur at a younger age if you:

  • Have poorly controlled diabetes
  • Take certain types of medication such as corticosteroid, etc.
  • Are born with it (congenital) Experienced previous trauma to the eye

What are the risks of cataract surgery?

As with any surgery, cataract surgery poses risks such as infection and bleeding. Before cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist may ask you to temporarily stop taking certain medications that increase the risk of bleeding during surgery.

After cataract surgery, you must keep your eye clean, wash your hands before touching your eye, and use the prescribed medications to help minimise the risk of infection. Serious infection can result in loss of vision.

Possible complication during cataract surgery:

  • Rupture of the lens capsule (“bag”) that supports the lens resulting in the implant being placed in the wrong position.

Possible complications soon after cataract surgery include:

  • Infection (endophthalmitis)
  • Inflammation
  • Bleeding
  • Retinal detachment
  • High eye pressure for a few days
  • Leaking wound which may require stitching
  • Cloudiness of the cornea
  • Swelling of the retina
  • Sensitive to eye drops
  • Displaced lens implant
  • Droopy eyelids

Cataract Surgery - Diagnosis

Cataract is detected through a comprehensive eye examination by an ophthalmologist.

Cataract Surgery - Treatments

How is cataract surgery performed?

In cataract surgery, the cloudy cataract lens is removed and then replaced with an artificial lens implant.

Cataract surgery is the main surgery performed at SNEC. The main technique used to remove a cataract is phacoemulsification.

In phacoemulsification:

  • A small opening between 1.8mm and 2.75mm is first created on the cornea.
  • An ultrasonic device is then introduced through this opening into the eye. This device breaks the cloudy lens up into small pieces and facilitates removal from the eye.
  • After the cataract lens is entirely removed, an artificial lens implant is inserted to the same position.
  • Most of the time, the wound does not require any stitching.
  • This method of cataract surgery takes less than 30 minutes.
  • This is a day surgery procedure hence there is no need to stay overnight in the hospital.
  • An anaesthetist is with you during surgery to provide sedation that will help you feel comfortable and relaxed during the surgery. You may not be totally asleep during surgery, but will remain comfortable. Anaesthetic eye drops and injections will be given to minimise pain. It is important to cooperate by not talking or moving your head and body during the surgery.

Download Cataract Surgery Leaflet

Download Cataract Patient Guide (English)

Download Cataract Patient Guide (Chinese)

Cataract Surgery - Preparing for surgery

Cataract Surgery - Post-surgery care

Cataract Surgery - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth