Cataract Surgery Brisbane

What is a Cataract ?

A cataract occurs when the eye’s lens, which is normally clear, becomes opaque. This lens is located inside the eye behind the pupil where it sits in the lens bag. Cataract causes blurred vision by blocking light as it travels through the eye. It can also change the focal point of the eye, further blurring the vision.

How is cataract treated ?

The only proven treatment for cataract is surgery. Through micro incisions, an opening is made in the lens bag. The opaque lens is then broken into small fragments with ultrasound and removed from the eye. Next, a transparent artificial lens (intra-ocular lens: IOL) is inserted into the lens bag. The focusing power of each lens implant is specific to each eye and highly precise measurements are taken of the eye before surgery to determine the exact lens strength for your eye.

WHAT WILL I EXPERIENCE DURING CATARACT SURGERY

Local anaesthetic is applied to the eye prior to the eye surgery so no pain is felt. You will feel movement and sometimes some pressure. You are given medication to relax you (sedation) so you are in a “twilight,” but you will be awake. You will be unable to see any of the operating instruments that are used during the cataract surgery.
cataract surgery brisbane

Will I need glasses after cataract eye surgery ?

The degree to which glasses will be required after cataract surgery depends on 2 main factors, the type of artificial lens implant used and the focal point of the lens implant. While options exist to reduce a person’s dependence on glasses, there are no artificial lens implants that have been developed which can guarantee complete independence from glasses for all activities.

You can choose 4 options.
  • Option 1: Monofocal artificial lens implant in both eyes, focused for distance.

    The traditional approach has been to insert lens implants which have a single focal point that are focused for distance in both eyes. It is a very good option for those who wish to have excellent distance vision without glasses but who are happy to wear glasses for near (eg reading) and intermediate distance (eg using computers, reading the dashboard of a car).

  • Option 2: Monofocal artificial lens implant in both eyes, focused for near.

    This is an option for those who primarily wish to be able to read without glasses and are happy wearing glasses for distance. This is usually chosen by those who have always been able to read without glasses due to being myopic (short-sighted).

  • Option 3: “Blended vision” or “monovision.”

    In blended vision, artificial lens implants are inserted which result in one eye being focused for distance and the other eye being focused for near. Blended vision significantly reduces the need to wear glasses after cataract surgery. It usually allows people to be glasses-free for most daily activities. Patients may still require glasses for reading very fine print and/or for driving at night. Because one eye is focused for distance and the other for near, it can take the brain a few months to fully adapt to blended vision. In the unlikely event that a person cannot adapt to blended vision, the focal point of the near eye can be changed to distance (with a second lens or laser) so that both eyes are focused for distance.

  • Option 4: Multifocal artificial lens implant in both eyes.

    Multifocal intraocular lenses work by splitting the light that travels through the eye into 3 different focal points: distance, intermediate and near. The result is very good vision for objects at all distances in both eyes and significantly reduced spectacles dependence or even spectacles independence. However, spectacles may still be required for fine near work.

    Multifocal/trifocal lenses have some potential downsides. Because these lenses work by splitting the light travelling through the eye into 3, the quality of vision for distance, for example, is not quite as sharp is it would be if the lens focused all light for distance vision.
    The second issue is that glare and haloes around lights are more commonly experienced by patients than in monofocal lenses. This usually does not cause any significant problem and, after several months, these are much less noticeable. However, in around 1 in 200 cases, glare and haloes can be very troubling to the point where these lenses need to be removed.

CAN I HAVE CATARACT SURGERY IN BRISBANE IF I DON’T HAVE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE?

Dr McLintock offers “intermediate” cataract surgery to patients in Brisbane who do not have private health insurance and would like to have their cataract surgery performed sooner than is possible through public hospital waiting lists. Through “intermediate” cataract surgery, patients with cataract in Brisbane are able to have their surgery performed by Dr McLintock at the Princess Alexandra Hospital as a private patient.

The wait time for this is 2-3 months, much less than the standard waiting time for surgery through the public system. As an “intermediate” patient you have your surgery performed by a fully qualified Eye Surgeon (Dr McLintock), not a training Doctor.

HOW MUCH DOES CATARACT SURGERY COST IN BRISBANE IF I DON’T HAVE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE?

The total out-of-pocket cost for “intermediate” cataract surgery through the Princess Alexandra Hospital with Dr McLintock is from $1946. This includes the Surgeon fee, Anaesthetist fee, hospital fee and a standard monofocal lens implant. Costs can be higher for patients wishing to be less dependent on spectacles following their surgery because this usually requires more expensive lens implants.

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Dr McLintock provides consultations at Upper Mount Gravatt, Taringa, Spring Hill and Hervey Bay. Find your nearest Cataract Surgery Brisbane clinic here.