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Blurred Vision In The Elderly: An Ophthalmologist Explains

Blurred Vision In The Elderly: An Ophthalmologist Explains undefined

A major cause of blurred vision in the elderly is cataracts. A normal condition in old age, it results in the clouding of the lens which can ultimately affect vision.

Other causes of blurred vision in the elderly include age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and increasingly, diabetic retinopathy.

Many members of the public may not know much about what comes next after discovering that an elderly loved one has blurred vision, what other complications can arise.

Ophthalmologist Dr David Chan has been weighing in on questions by DoctorxDentist readers about surgical vision treatments for the elderly in Singapore. Here's what he had to share.

Cataract surgery has a high success rate

 

a smiling asian woman


Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed eye surgeries. After the procedure, patients usually have their vision restored and their cataract problems permanently sorted out.

Depending on the patient’s eye condition, and the type of intraocular lens that is implanted, it is possible to gain spectacles independence after surgery.  [1]

However, complications are possible

 

an elderly woman's eyes


As with any surgery, there are some risks. Serious complications such as infections are possible but extremely rare, with rates as low as 0.01%. [2]

Yes, there is a slight possibility of going blind after cataract surgery

elderly person's eye with a cataract


There is a chance that patients can go blind from cataract surgery. However, the likelihood of losing your eyesight is very low. [3]

Sometimes, vision issues might occur after surgery

 

nuclear sclerosis in an eye


Occasionally, a layer of cells can grow on the back surface of the lens implants sometime after the surgery and this can affect vision. Patients may think that the cataract has returned but this is actually an easily solved condition known as posterior capsular opacification. [4]

Multifocal lens implants are a key advancement in cataract surgery

a cataract surgery intraocular lens implant

When asked about key advancements, Dr David noted that multifocal lens implants have helped patients in their later years experience spectacles independence for near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and presbyopia. [5]

The monofocal lens is still effective but spectacles may be required

 

an old man rubbing his eyes while reading


In comparison, monofocal lens application is still a good choice for sight restoration, but patients will still need spectacles. The multifocal lens offers the possibility to be free from spectacles. [6]

Introducing antibiotics to reduce post-surgery infection

structure of an antibiotic called cefuroxime


Aside from lens implants, the practice of introducing antibiotics into the eye during cataract surgery has greatly reduced the risk of post-surgery infections. [7]

What is the most common type of cataract surgery in Singapore?

a pair of glasses with thick frames

Phacoemulsification (a modern cataract surgery which involves the use of ultrasonic technology) is more common than the alternative femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS). [8]

Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS) is costly and not as effective for everybody

 

femtosecond laser surgery


The reason why people opt for phacoemulsification over femtosecond surgery is that femtosecond surgery has yet to show superior post-operative results. In addition, the femtosecond method involves significantly higher costs. [9]

However, femtosecond cataract surgery is useful in complicated cases

 

a medical illustration of cataracts


Despite not being the most popular type of procedure, surgeons have found Femtosecond surgery to be a useful tool in certain complicated cases. [10]

Ultimately, cataracts are a common condition and treatment is extremely safe. If you are interested in undergoing cataract surgery, do consult your doctor for a full assessment of your vision history and let him or her know if you have had any prior eye procedures done before making any decisions.

 

Would you like to ask any related health questions? 

You can Ask A Doctor right away, or view the complete list of DoctorxDentist Sessions.

 

References:

1. Tina D. Turner. What Are the Risks of Cataract Surgery? VisionAware. 2019. Accessed April 2019.

2. WebMD. Complications of Cataract Surgery. WebMD. Accessed April 2019.

3. Vance Thompson. Can Cataracts Cause Blindness? All About Vision. August 2017. Accessed April 2019.

4. Tina D. Turner. Can a Cataract Come Back? VisionAware. 2019. Accessed April 2019.

5. Troy Bedinghaus. Multifocal Intraocular Lenses . VeryWellHealth. 19 Feb 2018. Accessed April 2019.

6. Vance Thompson. Cataract surgery: Everything you need to know. All About Vision. March 2018. Accessed April 2019.

7. Thomas J. Liesegang. Prophylactic Antibiotics in Cataract Operations. Mayo Clinic PRocedings. Volume 72, Issue 2, Pages 149–159, February 1997. Accessed April 2019.

8. Singhealth. Conditions & Treatments and Medicines. Singhealth. 2019. Accessed April 2019.

9. Manolette R Roque. Phacoemulsification With Intraocular Lens (IOL) Implantation. Medscape. 17 Aug 2018. Accessed April 2019.

10. Vance Thompson. Laser Cataract Surgery. All About Vision. Dec 2018. Accessed April 2019.

1141 views 3 Apr 2019 Medically reviewed by Dr David Chan on 16 Apr 2019.
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