Consultant Ophthalmologist Mr Amar Alwitry discusses what to expect when undergoing cataract surgery, and information on lens replacement technologies offering heightened vision.
Sight is precious and we need to preserve it. If you use a search engine and ask the question “what sense would you least like to lose”, eyesight comes top of the list.
Unfortunately, the odds are high that most of the people reading this will develop cataracts. As we get less young it is almost inevitable.
Cataracts occur when the lens inside the eye becomes clouded by protein that has clumped together. As the cloudy area within the lens gets larger, it becomes harder to see. If this begins to affect daily life, surgery can be performed to remove the cataract.
During cataract surgery we take the cataract out and replace it with a new lens. If we did not replace the lens patients would be heavily reliant on very strong prescription glasses to see. When replacing the lens, we have the opportunity to take away long or short sightedness by choosing the appropriate lens power to put in the eye. We effectively take the lens power from the patient’s spectacles and incorporate it into the intra-ocular lens. This can mean that people who have worn spectacles since they were a child will suddenly be able to walk around without glasses on, and those who are “blind as a bat” first thing in the morning will no longer have to reach for their glasses!
Surgery is available on the NHS for those whose sight is being affected by cataracts, and patients are generally very happy with the results. The aim is to give patients good aided vision i.e.. vision with appropriate spectacles on. During the surgery, the affected lens is replaced with what is known as a ‘monofocal’ lens. This can remove the patient’s long or short sightedness and allow them to see reasonably clearly without spectacles in the distance, but in turn intermediate and near vision is reliant upon spectacles.
Within private healthcare there are other more advanced options available that can provide a bespoke treatment specifically tailored to the patient’s eye.
For those wanting good distance, near and intermediate vision, there are premium lenses that can offer this and an overall better chance of spectacle independence. It should be noted however that it cannot be achieved in every case, and with every clever procedure there are compromises. Unfortunately, not every lens is suitable for every patient.
For patients with glaucoma we can place a clever stent/tube into the drainage network of the eye at the time of cataract surgery to bring the pressure inside the eye down and potentially help reduce or stop their use of eye drops. We can also place incisions on the cornea to get rid of the corneal astigmatism meaning vision without spectacles is optimal. Furthermore, we can put lenses into the eye itself which are ordered specifically based on eye measurements, and correct corneal astigmatism from within.
New lenses have also been developed for those who suffer from macular degeneration that hope to restore some degree of vision. These act as a telescope and divert some of the light off the scar at the back of the eye.
Thanks to advances in technology, we are now able to use clever, computer assisted surgery (as
seen on East Midlands Today). This tracks the blood vessels of the eye in real time and projects an image into the microscope used for surgery to tell surgeons exactly where to place the incisions, and how to place the lens to deliver the best possible vision. Mr Alwitry has sole access to this Zeiss technology in the East Midlands making his premium service unique.
"I consider it an honour and a privilege that people trust me with their eyes. It is an exciting time for cataract surgery and we are pushing the boundaries of technology all the time. I hope to remain at the forefront of that and deliver the best for my patients always."
Mr Amar Alwitry has published three text books on the eyes, two novels, and more than 35 pieces of medical literature. He undertakes more than 1600 cataract procedures per year and also has a Masters in Medical Law. He has a higher qualification specifically in Cataract & Refractive Surgery above and beyond ordinary Consultant training, and is especially skilled and trained in the premium lenses he offers his patients. He was recently awarded the prestigious title of ‘2017 East Midlands Eye Surgeon Of The Year’.
Mr Alwitry sees private patients at Spire Nottingham Hospital, Nottingham Woodthorpe Hospital and Circle Nottingham. For further information visit www.midseyecare.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0115 9377801 (for Spire Nottingham enquiries),
0115 924 8446 (for Circle enquiries) or 0115 993 2015 (for Woothorpe enquiries).