CATARACT SURGERY - MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE SOLICITORS
According to the World Health Organisation the highest incidence of medical negligence in the developed world occurs in Australia. If you have been injured by a healthcare professional including a doctor, dentist, nurse or technician and would like to speak to a medical negligence law firm without further obligation, just use the helpline. If you have a viable compensation claim a cateract medical negligence lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims will speak to you. Our personal injury lawyers offer free advice and information on how best to preserve your legal right to receive compensation as a result of injuries caused by medical negligence. Merely speaking to one our our lawyers does not commit you to dealing with our lawyers nor will you receive any bill for the initial advice that you receive from us. Our lawyers telephone advice on cateract surgery problems is given without charge and without further obligation. Do yourself justice and call our specialist personal injury law firm today.
Our medical negligence lawyers have solicitors offices situated in Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin.
What is a Cataract
If you have a cataract, you have clouding within the lens inside the eye. Vision loss occurs and it can't be fixed with LASIK or corrective lenses. Fortunately, there is surgery that can correct cataracts and will restore the vision to at or near normal. You might not even need eyeglasses.
Many cataracts are associated with getting older. It is estimated that 2 million Australians over the age of forty or 17 per cent have at least one cataract. About 5 per cent of all of these people have already had surgery to remove cataracts. Cataract surgery is the best way to treat cataracts which are not complicated by macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.
With cataract surgery, there is a cloudy lens within the eye that needs to be removed with an artificial eye placed in its placed to allow for normal vision. Cataract surgery is an outpatient surgery so that you go into the surgery centre in the morning and leave at some point later in the day with no reason to have a stay at the hospital overnight. In the most modern forms of the surgery, an ultrasound is used to break up the old lens, with pieces of it then carefully removed from the eye. This procedure is known as phacoemulsification. It allows for faster healing with fewer complications.
After the phacoemulsification, an artificial clear lens is placed behind the pupil and the iris, exactly where the old cloudy lens was located. The incision is then closed and a shield that protects the eye is taped over the eye for use in the first several days. Laser cataract surgery has recently been developed that reduces the degree to which an incision is required. Laser assisted cataract surgery is considered safe but increases the cost of surgery. This is because the laser used in this type of surgery can cost upwards of $500,000 and each individual surgery is costly.
Cataract surgery is considered safe and successful in most cases, but there are complications. Three million cataract procedures are done each year with a 98 per cent success rate. In a study of Medicare patients, the success rate was 99.5 per cent, increased by the new technology involved in doing cataract surgery. Fortunately, most complications are mild enough to be treated medically rather than surgically.
A common complication of cataract surgery is called posterior capsule opacity or posterior capsule opacification. During the surgery, the surgeon notes a clear membrane surrounding the lens called a lens capsule. Every attempt is made to keep the lens capsule intact. The new lens is carefully placed back into the lens capsule and the vision should be very clear. In about 20 percent of cases, the posterior capsule gets cloudy during recovery because epithelial cells have grown on the capsule. Vision can be worse than before surgery.
Surgery on cataracts last about fifteen minutes but your entire stay at the surgical centre is about an hour and a half because of preoperative and postoperative care, including instructions. You'll need a driver to drive you until you have a vision test that clears you for driving.
Eye drops will be prescribed for you to use several times a day for a few weeks following the procedure. The protective eye shield is used or napping or sleeping for as long as a week after having cataract surgery. You will need sunglasses to protect your eyes after the surgery. There may be some redness of the eye and blurred vision in the weeks after the procedure.
Avoid the following after your cataract procedure:
- Any kind of strenuous activity.
- Lifting greater than 10 kilograms.
- Bending over or exercising in ways that can stress the eye.
- Water splashing in your eye that might cause infection.
- Activities that expose the eye to dirt and grime.
Follow the directions of the ophthalmologist in order to maximize healing. Call your eye doctor if you have blurry vision or excessive pain in the eye. If both eyes need cataract replacement, they should be scheduled several weeks apart.
Cateract Surgery - Medical Negligence Lawyers - Overview
A cataract happens when the lens of the eye becomes clouded. The lens hides behind the iris and the pupil and is responsible for clear vision. It focuses light upon the retina at the back of the eye. It lets us see things both far away and close. The lens is normally completely clear so that the full light can pass through it.
As we get older, some of the proteins can clump together so that there is a cloud an area of the lens. The amount of clouding gets worse over time so you have increasing problems seeing. There are three types of cataracts. The first is a subcapsular cataract, which begins at the back portion of the lens. It is common in diabetics or in people who have the eye diseases of farsightedness and retinitis pigmentosa or in those taking high doses of steroids. In a nuclear cataract, the cataract forms in the central part of the lens and is a natural part of ageing. A cortical cataract, forms in the cortex of the lens and spreads out in spokes from the outside to the middle of the cataract. It is more common in diabetics. Cataracts begin small and enlarge over time.
The fist symptom of cataracts is hazy or blurry vision. Light from a lamp or from the sun may seem too glaring to tolerate. You may notice when you drive at night that there is more glare from the lights of oncoming headlights. Colours may seem muted. If you have a nuclear cataract, you can have a temporary improvement in nearsightedness, a condition called "second sight". This tends to pass after the cataract gets worse. There may be no particular symptoms in a subcapsular cataract until it is severe.
No one knows why the eye forms a cataract but they are having increasing luck determining the underlying factors that may cause cataracts. Exposure to UV light is believed to be a risk factor so you need to wear sunglasses during the day and wear a wide brimmed hat. Cataracts can form due to other forms of radiation to the head. For example, airline pilots are at higher risk due to exposure to cosmic radiation. Diabetics are at higher risk for developing a cataract of some type. Steroid use, major tranquiliser use and diuretic use mean you have a higher risk of developing cataracts.
A diet high in antioxidants is believed to stave off cataracts. Eating lots of salt, on the other hand, may make cataracts worse. Cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption to a heavy degree and air pollution may also contribute to cataract formation. Lead exposure may be related to the formation of cataracts as well. Hormone replacement therapy may or may not increase the risk of cataracts. HRT plus alcohol use increased the risk of cataracts by 42 percent when compared to women who had none of the two risk factors.
The treatment of cataracts begins with wearing strong bifocals to magnify things and make you see well. Reading under appropriate lighting makes a difference as well. When the cataracts have spread to involve most of the lens or affect the central vision, you need to have to consider surgery to correct cataracts. Cataract surgery is a simple outpatient procedure that is done under local anaesthesia. There are more than three million cataract surgeries per year and it is the most frequently performed surgery in the US. Nine out of ten people who have this type of surgery have very good vision after the procedure is performed.
The surgery involves intraocular lens implant, removing the damaged lens and replacing it with a new lens from a donor or made from plastic. The new lenses can correct nearsightedness as well as fix the lens that has been damaged by cataract formation. There is another type of intraocular lens that can protect the eye from UV and blue light damage so the retina is protected as well. Certain prostate drugs should be avoided when you have a lens transplant because they make the iris too floppy during the procedure.
Medical Negligence Solicitors
Our personal injury solicitors operate a specialist medical negligence compensation service. Our cataract surgery solicitors deal with claims using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don't win then you don't pay them their professional costs. If you would like legal advice at no cost with no further obligation just complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices or use the helpline and a cataract surgery solicitor will review your medical negligence compensation claim and phone you immediately.
HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here