Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in medicine and involves replacement of the misty natural lens with a clear artificial lens. It is associated with ageing.
Cataract causes light sensitivity, blurriness, poor color perception, glare and difficulties driving at night. The symptoms gradually affect the life quality and make everyday activities difficult.
Cataract surgery is a day case procedure that is performed under local anaesthetic and takes 10 minutes to complete. The visual recovery is very fast and most patients achieve excellent vision within the first two days. Cataract surgery is traditionally performed with tiny incisions in the cornea and with the use of ultrasound the lens is removed and replaced by an artificial lens. The initial parts of the procedure can be performed with the use of femtosecond laser but this has not shown to be superior to traditional surgery regarding safety and vision improvement.
A wide range of intraocular lenses (IOLs) are available. Monofocal lenses provide excellent image quality but correct the vision in either far, near or intermediate distance only, therefore glasses are still necessary after surgery. To overcome this problem, surgeons use the so-called mono-vision technique, where the dominant eye gets corrected for distance and the fellow eye for reading distance therefore making the patient less dependent on glasses.
Multifocal IOLs produce both clear distance and near vision with around 3 out of 4 patients ending up completely independent of glasses. Unfortunately around 1 out of 5 patients experiences symptoms of glare and halos after surgery so not everyone tolerates them well.