Cataract surgery during Covid-19

Between April and June 2020, Singapore underwent a period of ‘circuit breaker’ (CB) to contain the spread of Covid-19. During this period, non-essential businesses and services were ordered to stop operations. These include healthcare services such as routine health screening and elective surgery (laser vision correction, non-urgent cataract surgery). Eye centres remained open during the CB for essential and urgent eye services.

The CB was lifted in June 2020. Good news for those who are suffering from impaired vision from cataract. People with cataract experience the following symptoms:

  • Gradual and constant blurring of vision
  • Seeing glares at night which worsens progressively
  • Change in colour perception

The above symptoms can also present in any other eye conditions with varying severity including mild conditions like an eye fatigue or serious conditions such as a retinal detachment. Hence, it is advisable to see an eye doctor as soon as you can, if you experience any changes to your vision.

When Should You Consider Cataract Surgery?

When should one consider cataract surgery? It is largely dependent on:

  • The impact of the cataract on daily visual function
  • The impact of the cataract on the overall health of the eye
  • The rate of vision loss

1 Cataract and daily visual function

The ophthalmologist may recommend surgery if he assesses a person’s safety and ability to carry out daily tasks (such as driving, reading, watching TV, work, and hobbies) to be severely compromised.

lights-and-cataract graphic

2 Cataract and overall health of the eye

The eye can have more than one problem. A possible example is that a person can have cataract together with primary angle closure. This means the space in the front part of the eye internally is narrow (occurs naturally, unrelated to any condition), and there is a risk of pressure build-up in the eye if the cataract continues to progress and thicken as it becomes cloudier. If the pressure in the eye gets too high, acute angle closure glaucoma can occur and cause rapid vision loss. In such a scenario, the ophthalmologist may recommend cataract surgery as soon as possible to prevent an unwanted, more severe, and possibly permanent loss of vision.

3 Rate of vision loss

The ophthalmologist may also weigh how rapidly the vision is decreasing. Cataract surgery may be recommended should the vision decrease so rapidly that visual function is considered unsafe to carry out daily activities.

Since the lifting of the CB, all cataract surgery has now resumed with additional safety precautions:

  • Everyone to wear a mask and keep a 1-metre safe distance between each other. 
  • Hospitals require all visitors to complete a Safe Entry check-in and health declaration form before entry. 
  • Should you be feeling unwell at any point in time such as having symptoms of flu, cough, sore throat, fever, and/or loss of sense of smell, please inform your doctor immediately. 
  • Two days before cataract surgery, you would be advised to instil antibiotic eyedrops to prep the eye for surgery. After the surgery, follow your doctor’s advice on the use of post-op medicated eyedrops, and to attend follow-up reviews as per instructed. 

At Atlas Eye, we perform a series of tests for a thorough assessment of the eye for cataract. They include:

  • Visual acuity and intraocular pressure checks
  • Manifest refraction
  • Pupil dilation
  • Video and face-to-face counselling
  • Detailed eye examination by our eye surgeon

If you are experiencing blurring of vision, please contact us at +65 6737 9119 for a cataract assessment. Alternatively, you may also email us at atlaseye@atlaseye.sg.