Like a camera, every eye has a lens. When the lens inside your eye clouds over it reduces the amount of light reaching the retina at the back of the eye. This makes it difficult for you to see clearly and is called a cataract.
Cataracts develop as a normal part of the aging process. By the age of 70 nearly everyone has some degree of cataract formation. Sometimes cataracts may develop at a younger age due to other diseases like diabetes, following an eye injury, or due to specific medications like steroids.
The earliest symptoms can begin with glare and sensitivity to bright light or haloes around lights. Surprisingly, some people notice that near vision without glasses can improve with mild cataracts. Vision then typically becomes progressively more blurred, foggy, and sometimes doubled. Colours often become duller and darker.
Modern cataract surgery restores the eyesight lost due to cataract by removing the cloudy lens in the eye and replacing it with a clear artificial lens. Eye Doctors use the latest small incision techniques and most up to date equipment available to give the fastest recovery and best possible vision. Cataract surgery can be carried out under topical, local or (very rarely) general anaesthesia.
The procedure itself generally takes from ten to twenty minutes. You go home the same day, after spending two to three hours in hospital.
A patch is worn overnight following surgery and you are advised not to drive until given clearance by your surgeon, which is often the next day. Whilst rubbing your eye, very strenuous activity and swimming should be avoided for one week, you can resume most other activities straight away.
Removal of a cataract is the most common eye operation and one of the most common surgical procedures performed in New Zealand. It has a very high success rate due to the modern methods used by Eye Doctors. Like any operation there is a small risk of complications, during and after the surgery that your surgeon will discuss with you. It is important to contact Eye Doctors if you have any concerns about the eye following surgery.
A variety of intraocular lenses are available for people having cataract surgery. Just as there are different types of glasses (eg. single vision, bi-focal and progressive) there are different types of lenses that can be inserted into the eye during cataract surgery. Eye Doctors surgeons will discuss which lens is best for your requirements.
The most common lenses used are single focus lenses, which give clear distance vision but usually require glasses for close vision, like when reading. Other options include toric lenses, which correct astigmatism and multi-focal or accommodating lenses for those who wish to have sharp vision for distance as well as near sight without glasses.
The total fee is $3,825. This includes the surgeon's fee, anaesthetic, standard intraocular lens implant, operating theatre time and two post operative appointments.
Affiliated provider benefit to Cataract Patients
- no need for prior approval
- no money up front for surgery
- Southern Cross pays Eye Doctors directly