Opthalmology

Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine and surgery that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the eye.

A partial list of the most common diseases treated by ophthalmologists include:

  1. Cataract
  2. Excessive tearing
  3. Proptosis
  4. Eye tumors
  5. Diabetic retinopathy
  6. Dry eye syndrome
  7. Glaucoma
  8. Macular degeneration


Following are examples of examination methods performed during an eye examination that enables diagnosis:

  1. Ocular tonometry to determine intraocular pressure
  2. Refraction assessment
  3. Retina Examination
  4. Slit lamp examination
  5. Visual activity


When Cataract Surgery necessary?


As long as you are satisfied with your vision, you should not consider cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is only indicated when the cataract becomes bad enough to limit your activities. What level of decreased vision is acceptable for you is an individual decision. It is important to realize that cataract surgery will not completely restore your vision to what it was prior to cataract formation; however, if your cataract has become significant, your vision should be significantly better after uncomplicated cataract surgery. It is also important to keep in mind that a cataract is only one problem which may affect your vision. Obviously, if you have other problems with your eye in addition to a cataract, the other problems may limit the final vision if your cataract were removed. Finally, when considering cataract surgery, keep in mind that any type of surgery, including cataract surgery, may have complications. Every effort is made to reduce possible complications but they can never be completely eliminated. Overall, the decision when to have cataract surgery should be yours.

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Alternative Treatment:

You may decide not to have a cataract operation after all. However, should you decide to have surgery, the best option for visual rehabilitation would be an intraocular lens. An alternative treatment with glasses and contact lenses does not work when you have a significant cataract. Surgical removal is the best option.

Lens Implant:

The artificial lens implant is a small plastic lens permanently placed inside the eye during surgery. With the implant, there is no apparent magnification of vision. In addition to a lens implant, most patients find it necessary to wear eyeglasses of normal strength to allow comfort with both near and distant vision. At the present time, more than 95 percent of patients having surgery receive lens implants.

Some risk or complications:


Every surgical procedure carries the possibility of certain risks and surgical complications-- cataract surgery is no exception. The procedure use for cataract surgery is one of the most successful and risk free techniques which has been developed; however, some individuals will invariably develop problems. Some of the more significant problems will be briefly listed. These problems are not all that may occur. These potential complications are not intended to discourage you from having surgery but to better inform you of some of the risk inherent with the procedure.


  • Anesthetic risks: Any anesthetic, be it local or general, carries a small risk. An adverse reaction to anesthetic can range from a minor allergic reaction to persistent double vision and even an occasionally reported death.

  • Hemorrhage: Uncontrolled bleeding from within the eye occurs very rarely. Despite aggressive treatment, if this problem does develop, most, if not all, vision or the eye may be lost permanently.

  • Infection: Any operation carries a risk of infection developing. For this reason, antibiotic drops are used in the operated eye after surgery. However, very rarely an infection will develop within the operated eye. If a serious infection does occur, you will need to be treated aggressively-- perhaps even requiring an additional surgical procedure. Despite aggressive treatment, occasionally an eye will be lost to a serious infection.

  • Ruptured posterior capsule/ Dropped nucleus: Current cataract surgical technique (phacoemulsification) requires an intact posterior capsule to be present. This posterior capsule is a normal envelope around the human lens. If this posterior capsule ruptures during cataract surgery additional surgery may need to be performed at times to remove remnants of the lens, sometimes on a different day by a posterior segment surgeon.

  • Retinal problems: The retina is the back part of the eye, which sends the image to your brain. Some retinal problems may be present prior to cataract surgery but will go undetected until after surgery because the cataract obscures the view of the retina. Unfortunately, if a retinal problem does exist, your vision will be limited by it despite removal of the cataract. On the other hand, you are probably better off having had the cataract removed so the retina can be adequately visualized and treated if possible.