Some facts regarding Cataract Surgery.

Almost all cataract surgeries in India are done with an IOL implantation. Very few and unfortunate persons fail to receive IOLs, due to natural causes or due to complications during surgery. It is the best, the cheapest and the most successful implant in the human body. The success rate is as high as 98% plus in most countries. India is equated among the West and other developed nations in CSR (known as Cataract Surgery Ratio). It is almost 6000 to 6500 per million in India.

In India 70% of the cataract surgeries are FREE of cost to the patient and these surgeries are supported by Govt of India (through District Blindness Control Societies) at the rate of Rs 750 per surgery with an IOL (mostly rigid PMMA material). India leads in reducing and controlling the preventable blindness in the most cost effective way. Paid surgeries varies from Rs 1500 to Rs 100,000 depending upon the doctor, hospital and the surgeon. And most important is your pocket and willingness to pay, combined with your awareness or ignorance (or simple stupidity and blind/unverified subjective beliefs) about cataract surgery techniques and IOLs. Always go after your next door cataract surgeon with full confidence and demand small incision cataract surgery with an Indian foldable IOL, at best possible rates. Chances are that you get best possible improved vision in more than 98% of the cases! To be truthful, many free surgery patients could be having a better vision, than paid surgeries costing Rs 100,000! In doubt? Ask your eye doctor.

Indiscrete verification of different types of IOLs (privately with recipients) helps you to spend less and get a better vision, than glorified IOLs, like Multifocal. Unless you are a perfect candidate, a multifocal IOL may even ruin your best chances of a comfortable vision.

Despite plethora of advertisements in the media, I can vouch you that all Indian ophthalmic surgeons, except a few (read it as very very old) surgeons do small incision surgeries in an excellent manner, due to state of art training and availability of modern machines in India, either through imports or made in India. More than 95% of surgeries are done, when the patient is fully awake.

No surgical intervention is risk free. So does the cataract surgery. Faith in God is fine, but the surgery is happening because of God's (natural or accidental causes) action. Unfortunately your surgeon is NOT God. So don't expect nature(God) or surgeon or your timing of surgery to be perfect. You should be fortunate enough that your surgery is a success. Fortunately the success rate is 98% and you should be fortunate enough to be one among 98%. It is a fact that in most leading and successful hospitals, they have at least one death during cataract surgery, during its lifetime! It is because of patient's other health problems, not because of cataract surgery.

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Laser cataract surgery is yet to take its wings. At present, it is more in experimental stages and more traumatic than present Small Incision Cataract Surgeries or phaco emulsification surgeries. You may be paying more for more pain without knowing it. Even if it is a success, you may be paying more for a normal surgery. I bring to your kind attention once again that, even free surgeries give better vision than best paid surgeries.

I hope at least some of you (prospective candidates for cataract surgeries) may find it useful. You can verify all of the above details with your next door or the best ophthalmic surgeons in India or abroad. Regards

Kasthuri N Ravilla

World Malayali Club