Contact lenses and cataract surgery
Contact lenses are best avoided following various ocular surgeries, particularly conjunctival surgeries. However, certain sceanrios may arise that after cataract surgery either lenses are required or desired.

What is the cause of cataracts?
Cataracts are caused by changes to the protein within the the lens. The function of the human lens is to focus light rays onto the retina, at the posterior part of the eye. The lens is comprised of mainly protein and water. The protein matrix is structured in a way to maintain clarity and enable light to traverse through. Problems can occur when the protein structure changes, resulting in the lens becoming cloudy. Without surgical intervention, this invariably will have an impact on vision.

Do I need treatment?
Surgical intervention will be required at some stage, however the decision is dependent on many factors, not least visual symptoms. An up to date refraction (spectacle prescription) is the sensible first port of call. With increasing symptoms, cataract surgery can replace the eye’s lens with an acrylic Intraocular Lens (IOL). The calculations required to choose the correct IOL specific to each individual relies on the shape of the cornea and length of the eye. Contact lenses can ‘warp’ the cornea, whereby lens use needs to be discontinued for a certain time period prior to performing calculations. The time period is variable depending on the type of lenses used. The advantage of accurate measures enable various lens choices to be selected to meet the refractive outcomes desired by each individual.

Is the surgery safe?
All surgical procedures carry risk, with the most grave risk of sight loss being 1/1000. However, cataract surgery is generally considered extremely safe with 99% of patients having improved vision post-operatively.

Are cataracts painful?
In certain scenarios, cataracts can cause other pathology, which can elicit pain. Hence, occasionally surgery is undertaken for medical reasons, as opposed to refractive reasons.

This blog is contributed by Gurjeet Jutley.