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Cataract Surgery

A cataract is clouding of the eye’s natural lens, most commonly due to the normal ageing process.

Cataract surgery is the definitive treatment, and involves the removal of a cloudy lens, replacing it with a clear artificial lens (IOL). The procedure is performed in a Day Surgery, takes 15-20 minutes, and is pain free.

Causes of Cataract:


Cataract develops over time as the protein structure in the lens changes with age, becoming discoloured and cloudy. The process usually occurs gradually in both eyes over several years. But in some cases, can occur rapidly.

Cataracts mainly occur in people over the age of 60 years, and the majority of people in this age group have some degree of cataract.

Other factors such as a family history of early cataracts, eye trauma, certain medications, diseases like diabetes, exposure to excessive sunlight, smoking and excess alcohol intake can also hasten the development of cataracts.

Rarely, children can also be born with cataracts, known as congenital cataracts.

Symptoms of Cataract:


With the development of cataracts, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Reduced or blurred reading and/or distance vision
  • Poor night vision and susceptibility to glare, affecting driving ability
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Halos and starbursts around lights
  • Dimming of colours
  • Fluctuation in glasses or contact lens prescription
 

Got a Question about Cataracts? - Ask Us

Cataract -Yellowing of the eye’s natural lens

Cataract -Yellowing of the eye’s natural lens

Cataract – spoke-like opacities in the eye’s natural lens

Cataract – spoke-like opacities in the eye’s natural lens

Measurements of eye shape and size for IOL calculation

Measurements of eye shape and size for IOL calculation

Assessing for Cataract:

Corneal topography print out

Corneal topography print out

Corneal topographer measures corneal shape and astigmatism

Corneal topographer measures corneal shape and astigmatism

Your GP or Optometrist will refer you to an Ophthalmologist to have your cataracts assessed.

Our assessment involves a dilated eye examination and diagnostic scans using the latest technology, to check the progress of your cataracts and help you decide if cataract surgery is the best option for you.

Dr Robaei will discuss the timing, benefits and potential risks of surgery in detail. This way you can make an informed decision.

At Forest Eye Surgery, we use the gold standard in optical biometry, the Zeiss IOLMaster, to make precise measurements of the eye and calculate the exact power of the intraocular lens (IOL) for each eye. We also map the corneal shape by using the latest technology in corneal topography. This allows us to also correct a person’s astigmatism during cataract surgery by implanting a toric IOL.

We utilise the latest IOL formulae, and regularly audit our results to ensure precise and reliable refractive outcomes for our patients.


Got a question about cataracts? Ask us now

Cataract Surgery

Dr Robaei performing cataract surgery

Dr Robaei performing cataract surgery

The only treatment option for cataracts is Cataract Surgery. In fact, cataract surgery is the most commonly performed operation in the world today.

The procedure takes place in a Day Surgery under local anaesthetic, and surgery time is approximately 15 minutes per eye.

For reasons of optimal safety and accuracy, Dr Robaei operates on one eye at a time, leaving 2 weeks between eyes. She creates a micro-incision (2.2mm) on the surface of the eye (cornea), allowing access to the cataract by key hole. The cataract is housed by a fine capsular bag, which is delicately opened. A small ultrasonic probe is inserted into the eye, and by gentle vibration, it softens and breaks up the cataract (this step is known as ‘phacoemulsification’). The cataract is then removed in segments, and a new intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted into the original capsular bag. The 2.2mm micro-incision is self-sealing, therefore no sutures are required.

Recovery period


Following the surgery, you will have a cover over the eye and will be given eye drops to use post-operatively. Once your eye cover is removed the following morning, the vision will already be better, but continues to improve over the next few days.

The eye may be slightly red from the anaesthetic, and you may experience sensitivity to light and mild grittiness for the first 24 hours. However you can return to work and normal activities within a few days.

How will cataract surgery improve my vision?


With the removal of the cloudy lens, light is no longer blocked or scattered by the cataract, but is focused entirely on the retina. The new intraocular lens (IOL) is specifically calculated and ordered to suit each of your eyes. Its power is specifically chosen to eliminate any unwanted focusing errors you may have. These include short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and astigmatism, for which you may have worn glasses for many years.

Intraocular lens selection and Premium IOLs

A toric intraocular lens, for correcting astigmatism

A toric intraocular lens, for correcting astigmatism

Prior to the operation, Dr Robaei will discuss your visual requirements in detail, and recommend an intraocular lens (IOL) that best meets your expectations, your lifestyle and your visual needs. Given the range of available IOLs, you may wish to wear reading or distance glasses post-operatively, or even to be free from spectacles altogether.

Multifocal and Trifocal IOLs (known as Premium IOLs) are the latest in high-end optics, offering patients full correction for near, intermediate and distance vision without the need for glasses. However, if your eyes are unsuitable for multifocal lenses, monovision may be an alternative, where your dominant eye is corrected for distance, and the other eye for near. This works very well for some patients, providing great distance and reading vision, without the need for glasses.

After a thorough assessment and guided by your input, Dr Robaei will recommend the best IOL option for you.

Laser assisted cataract surgery

Laser-assisted cataract surgery

Laser-assisted cataract surgery.
Reproduced with permission from Alcon®.

This is the latest advance in cataract surgery. A computer-guided laser, known as a femtosecond laser is used for the first stages of the cataract surgery, creating precise incisions on the cornea and partially dividing the cataract to allow easy removal. Dr Dana Robaei has been trained in laser assisted cataract surgery, and is happy to offer this advanced technology to her patients if deemed suitable.

Cost of cataract surgery


The cost of cataract surgery includes fees charged by the surgeon, the hospital facility and the anaesthetist. The total cost depends on the patient’s level of private health cover and their payable excess, as well as the lens (IOL) selected, and method of surgery (standard versus laser assisted cataract surgery). Cataract surgery carries a partial Medicare rebate, and Pensioners are offered a 20% discount on all clinical appointments and surgical procedures. For a quote tailored to your needs, please call the clinic on (02) 9452 6444.

When is the best time to have cataract surgery?


Whilst many older individuals have at some stage been told by their eye care provider that they have cataracts, fewer have had a discussion about the best time to have cataract surgery. This discussion not only requires a knowledge of a person’s symptoms, but it requires a detailed understanding of other, sometimes subtle, eye conditions, which may significantly impact on the timing of surgery. Certain conditions affecting the cornea (the eye’s clear window) or some types of glaucoma may dictate earlier cataract surgery than would be warranted if only the patient’s vision was taken into account. Failure to detect these subtle conditions may result in a greater risk of complications if cataract surgery is delayed.

Cataracts can also affect driving confidence, especially at night when glare and halos from car head lights become significant.

Untreated, the cataract can become dense overtime, impairing vision further and requiring a more complex surgical procedure in the future.

The timing of cataract development is highly variable in individuals, although most people have a degree of cataract beyond the age of 60. The timing of surgery is also dependent on the individual’s level of function and visual demands. Treatment is recommended when daily tasks like reading, looking at a computer screen or watching TV start to change, affecting your quality of life.

In elderly patients, the benefits of cataract surgery extend beyond improved vision. Cataract surgery is associated with reduced mortality (likely due to improved confidence and positive mental health effects), as well as reduced risk of falls.

In the following article, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the World’s largest association of Eye Surgeons, provides excellent advice on the optimal timing of cataract surgery for prospective patients: When is the Right Time to Have Cataract Surgery?

An ophthalmologist is best placed to advise patients on the timing of surgery, and Dr Robaei offers individualised advice for each patient on the basis of their symptoms, as well as a detailed assessment of their ocular health, which may impact on the timing of cataract surgery.

Why choose Dr Robaei for Cataract surgery?


  • Confidence in your surgeon’s training and experience – Dr Robaei is a highly skilled ophthalmic surgeon specialising in complex cataract surgery and corneal surgery. With advanced fellowship training in cataract surgery at the world-renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital, in London, she has the requisite knowledge and skill to offer a tailored solution to every patient, even those with advanced cataracts or other eye conditions that make cataract surgery more complex than average.

  • Peace of mind – Dr Robaei is approachable, and understands each patient is different and so are their visual requirements. She spends whatever time necessary to examine her patients, explain their condition to them in terms they understand, and offer a treatment plan that meets their individual needs and expectations.

  • Advanced technology – Dr Robaei has invested in the latest advanced technology, both in the clinic and in the operating theatre in order to ensure a safe, accurate and precise operation every time.

  • Professional and highly trained staff – Our friendly staff have years of experience in the Ophthalmic industry, armed with an excellent understanding of all conditions and treatment, and offering patients the highest quality of care.

  • Practice environment – Attending specialist appointments (especially when considering surgery) can be intimidating. The practice offers a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere, ensuring patients feel at ease and comfortable.

  • Invested in Education – The Northern Beaches has a real sense of community, with the medical practitioners working together to provide their patients with excellent and efficient eye care. Dr Robaei has met and personally knows most of the local practitioners. She offers regular educational sessions to local general practitioners and optometrists, so they too can offer the best level of primary eye care to their patients.
All surgical procedures carry some risk. The information provided here is for general educational purposes only. Please contact Forest Eye Surgery to find out what type of cataract surgery is appropriate for your individual situation.
Dr Dana Robaei - Sydney Ophthalmologist

Dr Dana Robaei

Ophthalmic Surgeon MBBS(Hons) BSc(med) MPH PhD FRANZCO

Dr Dana Robaei is a consultant ophthalmic surgeon, with fellowship training in Cataract Surgery and Corneal Transplantation from Moorfields Eye Hospital, and Medical Retina from Sydney Eye Hospital.

She has extensively published in the national and international ophthalmic literature, and presented at international ophthalmology conferences.

She specialises in Cataract Surgery, Pterygium Surgery, Macular Degeneration and all aspects of comprehensive ophthalmology.

Dr Robaei is committed to clinical and surgical excellence, with the aim of providing the highest possible standard of care based on the latest available evidence, in combination with effective communication to patients and their referrers.

Professional Qualifications


  • Graduated from UNSW with Honours, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
  • Master of Public Health, UNSW
  • PhD in medicine (Visual impairment in Australian School Children)
  • Advances specialty training in ophthalmology and ophthalmic surgery at Sydney Eye Hospital
  • Subspecialty fellowship training in cataract surgery and corneal transplantation at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London UK
  • Clinical Senior Lecturer in ophthalmology, University of Sydney
  • Consultant Ophthalmologist, Westmead Hospital
  • Director of Forest Eye Surgery, Frenchs Forest