Information contributed by the Cataract & Comprehensive Ophthalmology Department at Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), a member of the SingHealth group.

Cataract surgery

Cataracts cannot be cured with medication. Lifestyle adjustments such as changing your spectacle power, using a magnifying glass to read or improving the lighting in your home can be adopted in the early stages of the condition.

However, cataract surgery is required when the condition starts to interfere with your daily activities. It is a painless, safe and effective surgery. During the procedure, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with a clear lens implant. The cataracts are rarely removed without the implantation of new lenses. In cases where a new lens is not implanted, vision can be corrected with aids such as glasses or contact lenses.

Phacoemulsification:​ safer healing in cataract surgery

Most cataract surgeries are performed using a technique called phacoemulsification which does away with the need for stitches. The procedure involves making a small incision of 1.8 to 3mm on the cornea. A vibrating instrument is then introduced into the eye through this incision. This process causes emulsification (i.e. softening) of the clouded lens, which is sucked out through the instrument. The capsule of the lens is left behind to receive the lens implant. Cataract surgery is performed as a day surgery without general anaesthesia but with topical anaesthesia.

W​hich type of lens implant is right for you?   

​I​​​ntraocular lenses​

There are various types of intraocular lenses (IOL) available. You can discuss with your doctor which is the most suitable type for you.

1. Monofocal

  • Provides good vision at a specific distance
  • Reading glasses will most likely be required for reading

2. Advanced monofocal

  • Aspheric lenses – Provides sharper, better quality vision especially in poor lighting conditions, e.g. driving at night when it is raining
  • Toric lenses – Treats astigmatism, reducing the need for spectacles for distance vision

Monofocal lenses in both eyes
The full distance correction in both eyes will benefit those with an active sports/ outdoor lifestyle.

Monovision using monofocal lenses
An IOL implant. The IOL power is chosen to provide:

  • Good distance vision in one eye, and
  • Good near vision in the other

This will allow most patients to be spectacle-independent for most activities. They may still need reading glasses when reading for prolonged periods of time. Not all patients are able to tolerate monovision lenses and their depth of vision may be reduced.

Click on page 3 to read on multifocal lenses for cataracts.

Ref. L20