So, a cataract has been discovered in your eye and you are worrying about the history of cataract eye surgery? Well, actually that’s not quite uncommon. People like to be aware of what they are getting into, especially if it involves a life changing event like a surgery.
“Your eyes show the strength of your soul. Let them shine brightly.”
Cataracts have been in existence from a long time, precisely since 5th century BC. The first surgery was recorded around that age and has since then, evolved through time. The word cataract stems from a Greek word which denotes ’waterfall’ and the condition was described as an opaque object, present in the eye. Initially, the techniques used for cataract surgery were really primitive. The evolution of the techniques of surgery has benefited mankind and has mitigated risks associated with it.
Evolution of cataract eye surgery: a study of different techniques
Initially, in the 5th century BC, cataract operations were carried out through couching. In this kind of cataract eye surgery, the lens affected with cataract was dislocated and was devised to move away from the pupil. It remained in the vitreous cavity, at the back of the eye. However, the eyesight didn’t improve as corrective lenses were not introduced back then and images still appeared blurry.
However, the first time cataract was successfully removed during a cataract eye surgery was recorded in 1748 by Jacques Daniel in Paris. Successively, new ways and tools were developed through ages, especially through the 1900’s which however couldn’t find new ways to replace the lens. In 1940s, however, a discovery was made by Harold Ridley when he created intraocular lens to replace them.
Intracapsular Cataract Extraction (ICCE)
Created and used widely in 1989, this technique involves extraction of the entire lens along with capsule. This type of cataract surgery is rarely used nowadays as newer and less invasive techniques have been invented since then. The incision created is much larger and even the tools used are primitive to the tech developed now. It uses liquid nitrogen and some medicines. Also, the healing time is longer and poses great risks such as retinal inflammation and so on.
Extracapsular Cataract Extraction (ECCE)
In this procedure, the capsule which stabilises the lens is kept intact whereas cataract infected lens is taken out through a small incision. Though not as advanced as the new procedures, this kind of surgery is still used nowadays, only to remove cataracts which have progressed a lot or on patients who suffer from a variety of eye problems. Even though the healing time is a bit longer, you can avail this cataract surgery overseas.
Commonly known as phaco, this is a refined version of Extracapsular Cataract Extraction procedure, and was invented by Charles D. Kelman in 1967. You can avail this cataract surgery overseas which is minimally invasive and the healing time is shorter as well. In this procedure, ultrasonic waves are used to break down the cataract into small fragments for easy extraction through small incisions. Risk is quite low and success rate is pretty impressive for this type of procedure and is thus, used invariably.
Small Incision Cataract Surgery (SICS)
This procedure uses non-phaco incision which is incredibly small and self-healing. It is another effective method to remove cataracts and is relatively new. It is beneficial in the sense that it requires fewer amounts of resources as compared to phacoemulsification, and is applicable for differently sized cataracts. In this cataract surgery, the risk of developing astigmatism is really low.
Everyday newer tools are being developed to mitigate the risks and to make the procedure as comfortable as possible for a patient. Even laser is used to remove cataracts now. However, it is a fact quite known that eye surgery is quite expensive in countries like Australia, UK and USA. It costs around $2500 per eye in Australia.
Whereas in places like India, Thailand, Singapore, etc. the price is quite low. In India, it costs around $157. Thus, cataract surgery overseas is favoured because of its affordability while experiencing the same benefits and quality service. All you have to do is choose an appropriate medical tourism company that can help schedule appointments and arrange your travel plans for you.