About Cataract Surgery

Cataract Surgery Treatment Options in Melbourne

Cataract surgery is the removal of the natural lens of the eye (crystalline lens) that has developed a cataract, and the insertion of an artificial intraocular lens implant. It is the most performed elective surgery procedure in the world. In Australia alone, over 100,000 people each year undergo the procedure, which allows most patients improved vision almost immediately.

You may not need cataract surgery at the time of diagnosis: the use of stronger spectacles, a magnifying lens and brighter lighting may help improve your vision, if only temporarily. However, if your vision is impaired significantly and you do not see well enough to do the things you like to do, then it’s time to consider cataract surgery

Considering cataract surgery at NewVision Clinics in Melbourne?

Professor Alpins has a particular interest and expertise in the field of cataract surgery.

He uses the most advanced and proven methods; pioneering the use of phacoemulsification (he introduced it to Victoria in 1987), as well as exceeding patients expectations by reducing or completely eliminating any existing astigmatism at the same time as removing their cataracts. He is also accredited and experienced in the technique of laser femto cataract surgery.

Professor Alpins is distinctive in offering his cataract patients these dual benefits – having a new clear lens and a more spherical cornea, giving clearer vision post-cataract surgery without the need for distance spectacles.

This is made possible through Professor Alpins’ expertise in corneal astigmatism and the use of the ASSORTÒ program the ASSORT Toric IOL Calculator and the ASSORTÒ LRI Calculator which allow him to plan for optimum outcomes.

Your cataract assessment

At one of our Melbourne eye surgery clinics we begin by carrying out a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether a cataract or other eye disorder is affecting your vision. 

During the exam, we measure your visual acuity (your current level of vision) and examine the specific characteristics and density of your cataract. We also evaluate your retina and general ocular health. In the majority of cases patients have an ultrasound scan (OCT – Optical Coherence Tomography) to check that the macula is healthy. Any issues arising from this scan would be discussed in full.

The decision to operate is reached by you and Dr Alpins together, and is based on the degree to which the cataract is impairing your vision and the effect this has on your lifestyle. We will also discuss the cost and the financial arrangements available to you.

What are the types of cataract surgery?

  • Small Incision Cataract Surgery 
  • Laser Cataract Surgery

Small Incision Cataract Surgery At-A-Glance

Small incision cataract surgery involves a relaxing sedative and topical anaesthetic, microscopic removal of the cloudy lens and replacement with a clear, artificial one. Typically the surgery takes 30 minutes and you are able to go home within a few hours.

Step 1: Anaesthetic

Anaesthetic eye drops are used to numb the eye before the painless procedure is performed under local anaesthetic. Although you will be awake, a pleasant and very effective relaxing sedative is given intra-veinously and an aneasthetist is present to monitor your comfort.

Step 2: Side Port

A minute initial ‘side port’ incision is made. Thick, transparent fluid (viscoelastic) is injected to hold open the space between the cataract and the underside of the clear cornea in front of it. Anesthetic rinse is also applied at this time, rendering the eye profoundly numb.

Step 3: Incision

An extremely thin diamond scalpel makes a tiny incision for the cataract removal.

Step 4: Capsulorhexis

Carefully a circular opening is made in the clear sac that holds the cloudy lens.

Step 5: Phacoemulsification

Ultrasound softens the cataract so that it can be suctioned from the eye in a process called phacoemulsification.

Step 6: Irrigation / Aspiration

The last remaining soft cataract material is vacuumed out of the eye, leaving behind the empty lens capsule. The posterior capsule is vacuum polished to remove any remaining cellular debris to provide clearer vision the next day.

Step 7: Insert IOL

The customized flexible lens implant has been rolled up for insertion and is now injected through a soft tube into the vacant lens capsule.

Step 8: Final Rinse

The thick fluid previously instilled in the eye is rinsed out, along with any remaining microscopic cataract fragments. The small incision is self-healing meaning no sutures are needed in the majority of cases.

After cataract surgery

In most cases an eye patch is not required, enabling you to start using the eye almost immediately. Though it is unlikely that you will experience discomfort after surgery, you will be monitored by our staff and offered refreshments, before being allowed home. You can resume regular activities within a few days. Full recovery usually occurs in 4-6 weeks.

The benefits of Small Incision Cataract Surgery at NewVision Clinics

Cataract surgery is a dynamic area and we work hard to attain exceptional results. Because of his unrivalled expertise in the fields of cataract surgery and corneal astigmatism, Dr Alpins is able to achievespectacle-free distance vision for his cataract patients in most cases.

  • Professor Alpins performs cataract surgery each week at Como Private Hospital in Parkdale and at Victoria Parade Surgery Centre in East Melbourne.
  • He has helped over 5000 cataract sufferers achieve clear vision.
  • Professor Alpins uses his patented system The Alpins Method to give his cataract patients the dual benefits of having a new clear lens and a more spherical cornea – meaning clearer vision and no need for distance spectacles.

IOL (Intra-Ocular Lens Implant) – selecting the right type and power for you 

You have more options than ever before for seeing well after cataract surgery. At NewVision Clinics we have access to the very latest in IOL developments, and will advise you on the best option for you after careful evaluation of your vision and expectations.

Monofocal intraocular lens implants

Customised monofocal lenses are the most common type of lens implant and can be used in conjunction with LRI’s to produce excellent spectacle-free distance vision.

Toric intraocular lens implants

Customised toric lenses can be used in patients with cataracts and astigmatism to neutralise the corneal astigmatism, giving improved visual outcomes. Furthermore, using The Alpins Method and his ASSORTÒToric Calculator, Professor Alpins is able to select the best axis and power for the toric lens to produce outstanding spectacle-free distance vision.

Multifocal intraocular lens implants

Customised multifocal implants are increasingly used to produce good distance and reading vision without glasses. These lenses are not suitable for every patient and their risks and benefits will be discussed during your consultation.

Selecting the power of your IOL

A number of measurements are taken and used in combination to determine the power of IOL required to avoid the need for distance glasses after the procedure. 

Using LRIs to correct astigmatism

Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRI) are a corneal refractive surgical procedure to correct astigmatism. One or two incisions are made at the periphery of the cornea, following the curve of the limbus, creating a flattening effect in that meridian.

Professor Alpins frequently uses LRIs to reduce corneal astigmatism while carrying out routine cataract surgery thus giving you a new clear lens and a more spherical cornea. In this way he is able to give you clear vision post-cataract surgery without the need for distance spectacles.

Professor Alpins’ expertise in corneal astigmatism and the use of the ASSORTÒ program and ASSORTÒLRI Calculator allows him to plan for optimum LRI positioning to give you unrivalled visual outcomes.

Laser Cataract Surgery

Over the past couple of years femtosecond lasers have been introduced into the cataract procedure to replace some steps of traditional cataract surgery. The laser is used to make corneal incisions, to open the capsule and then suffer the cataractus lens before removal.

Professor Alpins has been accredited to perform femtosecond cataract surgeries and it is now available at NewVision Clinics. However, there are additional costs with this method and recent data shows equivalent results compared to small incision surgery with a skilled and experienced surgeon.

If you’d like more information about cataracts and how NewVision Clinics ensure a guaranteed refractive outcome, call us now or book online for an assessment, to find out how NewVision Clinics could help you see clearly again.