DEFINITION AND TYPOLOGIES: OPACITY OF THE CRYSTALLINE LENS, CONGENITAL CATARACTS, AND AGE-RELATED CATARACTS
It is defined by a progressive loss of crystalline transparency, the lens that is inside the eye (behind the iris) that contributes to focusing images on the retinal plane. This pathology is age-related, but in some cases, it can be present from birth (congenital cataract) or develops at a younger age due to traumas or use of certain medications. There are no pharmacological therapies that prevent or treat cataracts. The only therapy to restore good vision is surgery. The most modern technology that removes cataracts is called “phacoemulsification“. It is the removal of the central part of the crystalline lens (nucleus) by means of an ultrasound probe and cleaning of the residual area (cortex). An artificial crystalline lens (intraocular lens) is implanted, with the aim of replacing the biological function of the natural crystalline lens.
How Is Cataract Treated
There are no pharmacological therapies that prevent or cure cataracts and the only way to restore good vision is to resort to surgery. Cataract surgery is a procedure that can be addressed as soon as the patient and the doctor found that the vision is so deteriorated that it interferes with the patient’s quality of life. It is an intervention in Day Surgery, i.e. without hospitalization. It is performed under local anesthesia and the patient, while remaining awake during surgery, does not feel any pain.
It is now the most modern technique and universally used for the removal of cataracts and consists of the aspiration of the central part of the lens (nucleus) by means of an ultrasound probe and the subsequent cleaning of the residual portion. Subsequently, an artificial crystalline lens (intraocular lens) is implanted which has the aim to replace the biological functionality possessed by the natural crystalline lens. This technique provides an immediate visual recovery and a significant reduction in complications. The surgery takes about 15 to 20 minutes and after a few hours, the patient may go home.
- Femto Laser Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery has undergone major technological developments. The introduction of the Femtosecond Laser (or Femto Laser) has literally revolutionized this type of intervention. The main laser intervention phases are programmed by the surgeon into the computer and carried out by the laser in a few seconds, without the use of scalpel and forceps. All the steps are monitored in real time through a sophisticated equipment, the optical coherence tomography (OCT), which performs a three-dimensional control of the structures to guide the action of the laser. However, not all eyes are compatible with this technique and only the ophthalmologist, through specific tests, can evaluate and determine the surgical method that is most suitable for the patient.
- Implant Of Intraocular Lenses (IOL)
The removal of the crystalline lens by an ultrasonic probe or Femto Laser follows the implant of a toric lens. The implant of a mono-focal lens almost completely corrects the old visual defect of the patient. Thanks to the toric intraocular lenses, almost all the astigmatic defect can be eliminated, thereby reduce or completely eliminate the need for glasses.
Today, the high level of precision achieved by diagnostic instrumentation allows for the measurement and record of the anatomical and functional characteristics of each eye, providing the complete mapping of the visual system upon which to build a personalized intervention. In this way, the choice of the lens to be implanted becomes a refractive procedure that enables, in many cases, to strongly reduce or eliminate the dependence on bifocals or reading glasses after surgery.