Cataract and its treatment
CATARACT AND ITS TREATMENT Dr. Poonam Gupta is a leading eye specialist (previously working in PGI), who has been practicing in Charak Eye Hospital, Phase VII, Mohali for more than two years now. Here is some more information about her from a recent interview. Q. Dear Dr. You are one of our best of best doctors for Mohali, how do you feel? R. I am thankful to The Tribune and its readers for finding me as one of the best doctors in Mohali. It is the love and affection of the Mohali people that has lead me to have such an excellent practice and reputation within just two years of starting my private practice. Q. Dear Dr. Could you tell us some more about your academic experience before starting private practice at Charak Eye Hospital? R. I have been born and brought up in Chandigarh. After completing my schooling I did my MBBS from DMC Ludhiana, followed by MS (Ophthalmology) from the same place. Then I worked in PGI for the 3 years working in various eye specialties like Retina, Cornea, squint, uveitis etc. and gained valuable experience in various eye diseases and surgeries like Phacoemulsification (Stichless Cataract Surgery), Squint and Glaucoma surgeries. I have established Charak Eye Hospital as a center for advanced eye care for eye diseases and latest Eye Surgeries using the best imported equipments, since this facility was lacking in Mohali. A fully computerized air conditioned clinic with all imported machines (from leading American and German companies ) for computerised eye testing and eye check-up. Q. Can you tell us something about Charak Eye Hospital? R. Charak Eye Hospital is an advanced Eye Care Center that has been started by me, adding to the Charak Child Care that has been treating children in Mohali and nearby areas for the last 7 years & more. The idea behind this center is to provide quality service to people at affordable rates. Cataract surgery packages with Phacoemulsification and foldable lens implantation start at Rs. 6000/-. Our philosophy is to provide the latest genuine care at very reasonable prices. What is cataract? Cataract is the most common occurrence of mostly older age group and is a normal aging phenomenon. It is not a disease. Like the other aging milestones – graying of hair, joint pains etc, cataract also appears as the age advances. It progresses faster in patients of uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, patients exposed more to UV rays of the sunlight, history of eye injury, injudicious use of steroid eye drops etc. We are born with a transparent lens in the eye. This lens works much like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina at the back of the eye. Slowly with age it becomes opaque and this is called cataract. How does the patient come to know that he/she has cataract? Initially the patients might not have any symptoms or there might be a slight decrease in vision. Daily commuters might have difficulty in driving at night. The headlights or approaching vehicles throw a lot of glare. Slowly the vision decreases further. Ideally, after 40-45 years of age, there should be routine eye check up after every 6 months by an Ophthalmologist. In these visits the presence or absence of cataract can be picked up. What is done in a cataract surgery? In cataract surgery, this opaque lens is removed and an artificial transparent lens is implanted in its place. With the advancement in techniques of eye surgery, cataract surgery takes maximum ten minutes. When should one get surgery done? A lot of people have a misconception that one should undergo cataract surgery once it becomes mature (motia pakne par). That is not true now. Why wait to compromise your daily quality of life to wait by waiting? Secondly, with Phacoemulsification as the latest technique for surgery, the results are better in immature or partially formed cataract and the post operative quality of vision improves tremendously. The sooner the surgery is done better are post operative results with minimum period of post operative recovery. Initial complaints like blurring of image, difficulty in night driving, double vision etc., should not be ignored. Visit your eye specialist for a detailed eye examination. Is there any medical treatment for cataract? The other concept that people have in mind is to get medical treatment for cataract. Since it is a normal aging phenomenon and not a disease, there is no medical treatment or eye drops to treat. A diabetic or a hypertensive patient can slow the progress of a cataract by keeping the blood sugar levels and blood pressure under control respectively. What is Phacoemulsification? Eye is a branch in medicine which has a rapid advancement in the various techniques and equipment for treatment. Phacoemulsification is one such advancement technique for operating cataract patients. This technique involves a stitch less and painless surgery. There is no need for an injectable anesthesia. Most patients are easily operated by anesthetising with eye drops. The surgery itself takes ten to fifteen minutes by the hand of an experienced eye surgeon. There is no need for an eye bandage since no inject able anesthesia is used nor any sutures are applied. The results of the surgery depend on the expertise of the operating surgeon, the machines used for surgery, preexisting illnesses like diabetes etc. The minimum package of Phacoemulsification with foldable lens implantation starts at Rs. 6000/-. How is the lens implanted? An intraocular lens is implanted in the eye through the self sealing incision. This is a foldable lens and is implanted in place of the natural lens which has become cataractous. Depending on the patient’s choice all types of intraocular lenses are available. After surgery the authentication card of the lens implanted is given to the patient, so that the patient can rest assured that he/she is getting the lens for what they have paid. Is the lens removable? This is another commonly asked query. Once implanted this is a life long intraocular lens and does not need to be changed. What kind of lens should be implanted? There is a wide range of intraocular lenses both Indian and imported with good post operative results. Depending on the post operative visual expectation and the presence of illnesses like diabetes, the lens is implanted accordingly.