Manila, Philippines – LOSING one’s ability to see clearly is perhaps a normal occurrence as one grows more advanced in age. Although there are many causes of loss of clear eyesight, one of the more common and leading causes of blindness among adults is cataracts. According to the website Blindness in the Philippines, 400,000 out of the estimated half a million visually-impaired people in the country are cataract cases.
In an interview for our weekly TV program Kasangga Mo ang Langit, Richard Kho, a neuroopthalmologist at the American Eye Center said that the only treatment to cataracts is surgery. According to Dr. Kho, the gold standard in cataract surgery these days is called the small incision cataract surgery which, as its name indicates, entails making a very small incision in the eye area to take out the cataract and replace the old lens with an implant. The procedure takes 10-15 minutes with practically no down time.
This procedure is a far cry from manual incision cataract surgery of olden days involving the injection of anesthesia, and making a sizeable incision in the eye area, which necessitates stitches and a long recovery period.
A step up from the small incision category is the laser-assisted cataract surgery and the American Eye Center has this new technology. Cataract and external diseases specialist Benjamin Cabrera explained that the laser does away with the blade and the surgeon making manual incisions. The laser beam, programmed through a computer, makes minute and exact perforations in less than a minute. Then the patient walks to the operating room where the surgeon continues the work by taking the cataract out and implanting the new artificial lens. According to Dr. Cabrera, this new technology which they call Alcon Lenx X makes cataract surgery quick, effective, and 100% safe.
They advise patients who suspect that they have cataract to consult with them as soon as possible to see if they can take advantage of this new technology and regain their eyesight.
They caution against the obsolete practice of waiting until the cataract becomes worse, the earlier they get to treat the cataract, the better.