The term cataract is derived from the Latin word waterfall. This is because during the ancient times people believed that cataracts were brought about by the liquid flowing from the brain down to the eyes, which then forms the white soft opaque membrane in the eye. Various civilizations during the ancient time have performed their own cataract surgery. Even with very little knowledge about eye anatomy, and however crude their procedures were, they were able to improve the vision of those who had cataracts.
The ancient Egyptians during 2700 BC used needle knife to puncture the cornea and push it down for clearer vision. This is known as the ‘needling for cataracts.’ The Japanese used a similar needle knife although instead of pushing down the cornea, they had a fine tube to suck the membrane off the eye. During the medieval times, the couching technique became popular. The surgery is performed using a blunt object to break the zonules and dislocate the lens.
Modern Europe Cataract Surgery
The first medically recorded surgical removal was done in 1748 in Paris. During this time, anesthesia was already being used so the removal of the cataract was finally made possible. The procedure involves removing the lens in one piece. It was necessary to ensure that the lens does not get damaged and remains intact so the doctors performed the procedure only to those who had really advanced cataracts. Nevertheless, the surgery can be considered dangerous as it had the second highest mortality rate for treatment at the time.
Advances in Cataract Surgery
Advances in technique eventually improved the procedure and the results significantly. In just several years, doctors were able to remove the lens without touching the lens capsule. For the first time since the procedure was performed, it was not possible for doctors to operate on those who had less advanced cataracts. Most significantly, the wound was significantly reduced; and since fine sutures were then being performed, the procedure had become a lot safer.
By mid-19th century, the cataract glasses were finally invented. Using the cataract glasses, those who had their lenses removed now had clearer vision and focus using the glasses. By the late 19th century up to the early 20th century, there were several advances and improvements in the procedure. The surgical microscope, as well as lighting for surgery, allowed the doctors performing the surgery to improve the technique. Surgical stitching at that time also provided more strength and stability to the lens.
Cataract Surgery Today
By mid-20th century, lens implants, using artificial Perspex lenses, replaced the cataract lens. This has become the standard practice across the globe for years. The lenses were improved since then and cataract surgery became better and better, in terms of results, over the years. The invention of silicone lenses for example, enabled surgeons to do the procedure that causes only a very small wound. In the more recent years, laser surgery has become the standard procedure because of its even more improved results and other benefits.
If you are suffering from cataracts, you might want to visit Houston LASIK & Eye, the leading LASIK or laser eye surgery center in Houston. They use the latest equipment and techniques in treating cataracts.
Houston LASIK & Eye leads in providing premium LASIK technologies to Houston, Sugar Land, and the surrounding region. The Center’s award-winning medical director introduced revolutionary technologies such as iLASIK to the region. This technology is used by NASA astronauts, Navy SEALS and Air Force fighter pilots. At Houston LASIK & Eye, you can now receive the same treatment. For more information, please call (281) 240-0478 or visit us at www.houston-lasik.com.
About the Author
Amjad Khokhar, M.D. is Chief LASIK Surgeon at Houston LASIK & Eye. Add Dr. Khokhar on Google+ here.