Cataracts and Cataract Surgery

Cataract Surgery

What is a cataract?
A cataract occurs when the clear lens inside your eye becomes cloudy. The cataract lies behind the iris, the coloured part of the eye. This lens is clear in a normal, healthy eye, and it is responsible for focusing light rays to the retina, the back of the eye. The retina is responsible for sending messages to the brain, which then allows us to see.

When a cataract develops, it prevents the light rays from passing on to the retina. The picture the retina receives becomes fuzzy and dull. Cataracts normally develop slowly, and most people experience this as a gradual blurring of vision.

What is cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is a procedure where the ophthalmologist removes the lens of your eye and replaces it with an artificial lens. This is performed as an outpatient procedure. During the surgery, Dr Beatty will make a small incision on the front of your eye and insert a small instrument which will then break up the cataract and gently suction it out. He will then replace the lens with a new lens which may be made up of plastic, silicone, or acrylic. The ophthalmologist will stitch close the cut. If you have cataracts on both eyes, then you will undergo separate surgeries which will be a few weeks apart, to allow the first eye to heal.

Do cataracts spread from eye to eye?
No, cataracts do not spread, but they often develop in both eyes simultaneously.

Does overuse of my eyes cause cataracts?

No, you will still need to use reading glasses. This occurs after the age of approximately 45-50 years of age. It is due to normal physiological changes of the eye as the lens starts to age.

Are there different kinds and causes of a cataract?

Yes, cataracts may be caused by injuries to the eye, certain diseases, particularly diabetes and some drugs such as steroids. Some babies are born with cataracts, which is called congenital cataracts.

Are cataracts just a part of getting old?

Most forms of cataracts develop in adulthood; this is called an age-related cataract. It is common and may occur in people who are 40 years and above.

When can I have my cataract treated?

When the cataract progresses and starts to interfere with your daily activities and normal lifestyle. Then cataract surgery is usually recommended.

What visual results can I expect after surgery?

The main goal of cataract surgery is to remove the cataract. Although the quality of sight should improve after surgery, glasses will be needed for perfect vision.

Can I do something to stop cataracts from developing?

There is no known prevention for cataract. Modern surgery is highly successful for the majority of patients.

Can cataracts be removed using a laser?

No, surgery is the only way to remove cataracts. It cannot be removed by laser.

Cataracts are developing in both eyes - can they be treated at the same time?

No, but it's common for cataracts to develop more quickly in one eye than in the other. The ophthalmologist will decide the timing of the surgery. Usually, the more seriously affected eye is treated first.

Do I need any special tests before the operation?

Yes, the ophthalmologist or a nurse will do special tests to measure your eye. This helps the ophthalmologist decide the strength of the intraocular lens that will replace your natural lens. However, even with the most sophisticated equipment, it cannot guarantee that the lens chosen will be the perfect match for your eye, but it will be very close.

What does surgery involve?

Dr James Beatty will perform the surgery using a microscope. The eye will not be removed and replaced during the cataract surgery. Most cataracts are removed with a procedure called phacoemulsification. During this procedure, the ophthalmologist will use sound waves to soften the lens, and a small tube to suction the lens out. The back layer of the lens is then left behind, and the new lens is placed in front of it. Sometimes very fine nylon stitches are used to close the wound, which may be removed in the clinic at a later appointment. This is a painless procedure.

What kind of anaesthetic is necessary?

Cataract surgery is performed under local anaesthesia. This is given in the form of eye drops or an injection around the eye. You will be awake during the surgery and will be aware of the bright light, but won't be able to see what is happening. Alternatively, the ophthalmologist or patient may decide to make use of general anaesthesia.

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  • Pleased to confirm that I had both my eyes operated for cataracts. This was the best decision ever going for this procedure.
  • Ons is reeds jare pasiente by dr Beatty en ons het intussen afgetree en verhuis. Steeds ry ons vir ons besoeke daarheen en sien elke keer uit om daar te kuier!
  • I wanted you to know that I got my eyes checked and it came out as 20/20! You did a great job. The guy who checked my eyes said whoever did it really knew what they were doing :)   Anyway, thanks for doing such a good job! Glad you were able to open up just in time before we left for the states.  
  • Roger 12/11/20
    I will definitely recommend dr Beatty. I am so happy with my Lasik.
    Roger 12/11/20
  • Mev Botha
    Ek is regtig baie dankbaar en opgewonde om so mooi duidelik te  kan sien. 13/11/2020
    Mev Botha
  • Margaret
    Thank you for always helping me on such short notice. James is the best!
  • Morne
    Julle is 'n great span met die beste dokter.
  • Constance
    Thank you ladies for always being so helpful and friendly:)
  • Lauren
    Doctor Beatty is hands-down one of the best Ophthalmologist I have ever seen in my 35 years of life!
  • Gary
    Such a  privilege to have doctor Beatty  as my Ophthalmologist.
    Ek was besoeker by julle kamers tydens my vakansie in die Kaap. Ek is julle is so dankbaar vir die vinnige hulp en goeie diens.
  • John
    Lovely ladies and best doctor. Love you all and looking forwards seeing you next year for my follow-up.
  • Yolandie
    Altyd so lekker om by julle te gaan kuier en almal is so vriendelik en behulpsaam.
  • Megan
    I am so happy with the results after I had Lasik done. Best money spent ever.
  • Zelda
    Thank you doctor Beatty and staff for your good service and for you all being so friendly:)
  • Best decision and results after I had my Lasik done by doctor Beatty!
  • Always looking forward seeing doctor Beatty for my check-up once a year.
  • Thom
    I could not believe my eyes!
  • Barry
    Very impressed with Dr Beatty, the hospital and aftercare was excellent.
  • Alma
    Julle dames lag altyd, so lekker om hierheen te kom! Puik diens.
  • Mr "A"
    Thank you for professional service and excellent aftercare.
    Mr "A"
  • Johann
    Julle diens is uitstekend en almal is altyd baie vriendelik.
  • Rene van Tonder

    I have been a patient of Dr Beatty since 25 April 2013. I then followed him after moving practice to the new building in Paardevlei and I have not looked back.

    At Somerset Eye Clinic, vision becomes a reality. Though advanced imaging and state-of-the-art technology, Dr Beatty diagnosed my eye problem timeously, thereby arrested the disease in it's earliest stages. Dr Beatty also practices the most sophisticated surgical techniques for the treatment of patients and remains on par with international research and developments in the field of ophthalmology.

    The dedicated team of ophthalmic assistants and administrators are handpicked to optimise practice management, functioning and patient care. Visiting Dr Beatty's practice feels like dealing with trusted, loyal family. Dr Beatty's gentle, patient, kind and caring manner, fosters patient loyalty, respect and long-term engagement.

    I am a strong advocate for his practice and a patient for life.

    Rene van Tonder
  • Pieter Moelich

    I was lucky enough to find Dr Beatty via a referral and I would refer him to anyone interested in Lasik / PRK eye surgery. The entire experience, which can be scary, was really pleasant with his and his staffs professional advise and care before, during and after the surgery. I am very thankful to be able to look at the world and go about my day to day activities without the hassle of glasses or contact lenses.

    Pieter Moelich
  • Elsabe de la Port

    Who it may concern

    About nine months ago Dr Beatty removed cataracts from both my eyes.

    The procedures were successful and I do recommend this particular specialist. He is always professional and it was a relaxed experience.

    The admin personnel are always friendly and professional.


    Elsabe de la Port