What is a cataract?

If you feel like you are looking through a frosty or foggy window or having more difficulty driving at night or seeing the expression on people’s faces it may be that you have the symptoms of a cataract forming in your eyes.
A common misconception is that a cataract is a film or growth over the eye, this is not the case. A cataract is the term used to describe clouding of the naturally clear crystalline lens of the eye.

The lens in your eye is positioned behind the iris (the coloured part of your eye). The lens in your eye functions like that of a camera lens to focus incoming light onto the retina in order for you to see clearly.

Throughout your life the natural lens is clear & flexible to enable you to have clear natural vision refocusing between distance and near objects. Any cloudiness of the natural lens in your eye over time is termed a cataract.


About cataract surgery

Cataract surgery is one of the most common performed surgical procedure worldwide, that enables people to regain their independence.
Cataracts operation involves making a tiny incision around 2.5 to 3mm through in which an intricate ultrasonic machine (a phacoemulsification instrument) uses sound waves to break the cataract up into small pieces so that it can easily be removed from the eye. This process is called phacoemulsification.

 After the cloudy lens has been removed from the eye it is replaced with a small clear artificial lens, an intraocular lens (IOL). An IOL is put into your eye replacing the dysfunctional cloudy cataractous lens which has been removed.

There are a number of different IOL lens designs available. At your consultation with Dr Kent will discuss with you your lifestyle and what IOL is recommended for you, taking into account the unique features of your eyes and your visual requirements.

Most people want to minimise any spectacle wear following removal of their cataract. A premium multifocal intraocular lens that facilitates clear vision over a full range at near, distance and intermediate may be the most suitable option.

Some people are better suited to a single focus, monofocal intraocular lens therefore you would need to wear reading glasses after the cataract is removed.  Dr Kent will carefully go through the options with you to determine the most appropriate option for you.

Fendalton Eye Clinic is an affiliated provider with Southern Cross Healthcare Insurance for selected services and a NIB First Choice Health Provider





Dr Kent performs cataract and refractive lens exchange surgery  at the Christchurch Eye Surgery.

Opened in 2014,  it is equipped with two operating theatres and the latest ophthalmic technology and equipment to allow surgeons to provide the best possible care.



FAQ about Cataract Surgery

What are the symptoms of a cataract?

Symptoms of a cataract can be quite variable. The most common symptom is cloudy, blurry or dimmed vision because of the increased shattering of light caused by a cloudy lens. With a cataract you may also experience sensitivity to light and glare. As a cataract advances you may notice difficulty with night vision. It is not uncommon to notice that colours are dull in particular a fading or yellowing of bright colours. The formation of a cataract can cause your spectacle prescription to change so with advanced cataracts updating your glasses does not provide clear vision.

What options are there for intraocular lens (IOL) surgery?

The decision as to which interocular lens to be used is one you make at the consultation with Dr Kent, based on the health of your eyes and your specific lifestyle visual requirements.
  • Multifocal IOLs are the most popular choice of IOL's at Fendalton Eye Clinic due to this type of lens providing a range of clear focus from distance through to close range so the aim of these lenses is to minimise the need for spectacles at any distance but if you are doing fine needle work or reading in bed holding a book at very close range you may require reading glasses for more comfortable detailed near vision.
  • Monofocal IOLs, these provide clear focus at one distance, generally optimising distance vision so you would require spectacles for near tasks such as reading, computer work etc.
  • Monovision or blended vision using monofocal IOLs - in one eye an IOL is used to optimise distance vision while the other eye an IOL is chosen to optimise vision at close range. The effect is one of blended vision, keeping both eyes open but favouring one eye to read and the other for clear distance vision.

Where does Dr Kent perform cataract surgery?

Dr Kent performs cataract surgery and refractive lens exchange procedures (Lifestyle replacement lens surgery) at the Christchurch Eye Surgery Hospital. Opened in 2014, their state-of-the art facility has been purpose-built to give you the very best eye surgery experience possible.  Christchurch Eye Surgery Hospital has an exceptionally-skilled professional team of experts including anaesthetists, nurses and technicians to ensure that you receive the best possible treatment and quality care.

When were intraocular lenses (IOL) invented?

The Intraocular Lens (IOL) was invented in 1949 by Sir Harold Ridley who pioneered IOL surgery for cataract patients. Ridley pioneered this treatment in the face of prolonged strong opposition from the medical community. We have Ridley to thank from the humble beginnings for his innovation as today millions of people have benefited from the independence of having their compromised vision restored by an intraocular lens. In the decades since Ridley used the first IOL's materials and surgical technique have improved in the delivery of modern cataract surgery that we have available today.
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