PENANG: There are no cataract leaks, the leading cause of blindness in the world.
It is only a matter of when this will happen after the person is over 40 years of age.
And contrary to popular belief, cataracts are not a disease and can not be prevented, treated or reversed, the only proven solution being surgery to remove the blurred lens inside the eye and replace it with an artificial lens (intraocular lens or IOL).
The most common cause of cataracts is the advancing age when the protein in the lens begins to degenerate and heaps to cloud the lens.
Regular eye exams are important for early detection, because the longer the delay, the greater the surgical risks.
Vista ophthalmologist consultant senior ophthalmologist, cataract and refractive surgeon Dr. Ng Gim Leong said that choosing the right artificial lens before a cataract surgery was important considering that each patient has specific visual needs and lifestyle expectations.
"There is a wide variety of premium IOLs to choose from conventional monofocal (for remote viewing) to multifocal (near and far) and the next trifocal generation.
"Trifocal provides excellent natural vision at all distances – near, intermediate and distant.
"It is also capable of correcting other refractive problems, such as astigmatism, and improving night vision," he explained.
Dr. Ng said the middle segment is for viewing objects from a distance, such as computers and smartphones. The requirement for this lens is increasing especially for those in the age range of 50-60 years.
"IOLs can last a lifetime without risk of rejection or inflammation. But patients with age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or lazy eye can not undergo this lens implant, "he said.
Dr Ng is one of three speakers on StarLIVE's Robotic technology: the latest approach to cataract surgery to be held at the Tun Dr Keng Yaik Auditorium of the Wawasan Open University on November 18.
The other speakers are his colleagues – the ophthalmologist, cataract and refractive surgeon Dr. Anson Teh Yeong Han and the ophthalmologist, cataract and refractive surgeon Dr. Neoh Yee Ling.
Dr. Ng's topic is in Free Vision Glasses with Trifocal Lens, Dr. Teh will cover Robotic cataract surgery without blade while Dr. Neoh will talk about the The Top Seven Myths About Cataract Surgery.
According to Dr. Teh, people should remove the cataract when it begins to reduce their vision and affect their daily activities.
He said that cataract surgery is now safer, with more predictable results with minimally invasive femtosecond-laser-assisted cataract surgery or non-razor cataract surgery.
"The use of a femtosecond laser (a powerful beam of light) to replace many of the steps performed manually by a surgeon resulted in a higher level of precision and consistency.
"When you have high accuracy and accuracy, the results are better, the risks are lower and recovery is faster.
"You just go for cataract surgery once, so it makes sense to go for the best option," he said.
Dr. Neoh said that although cataracts were the leading cause of vision loss worldwide, their cause and treatment have been shrouded in myths passed down through generations.
She said the myths represent a significant challenge in the treatment of cataracts and consequent impairment of vision, adding that patients would simply live with the disease without seeking treatment until they became blind.
"There is still a lot to be done to raise awareness, particularly in rural areas. If we can not educate the older generation, we strive to at least educate the younger ones so that they take their elders for regular eye exams.
"Cataract blindness is preventable if someone acts early," Dr. Neoh said.
To sign up for the talk, go to http://starlive.eventbrite.com.