A cataract is due to a clouding of the natural crystalline lens inside the eye. In the majority of cases, it is an age related process, however, there can be other causes such as trauma, diabetes and the use of steroid medication (pic of cataract). The main symptom is visual blurring although glare can also be an issue with certain types of cataracts (posterior subcapsular cataracts). There is no medical treatment for cataracts and the definitive means of correction is cataract surgery.

Today, many thousands of cataract extractions are performed with a high success rate. Typically, the surgery is performed under local anaesthesia with sedation and takes 30 minutes on average. There are many choices of intra-ocular implants available today (Monofocal, Monofocal Toric, Multifocal, Multifocal Toric) (pics of different implants) and the choice of implant depends on the status of the patient's eye and his or her preference.

In general, monofocal implants give good distance visual in the absence of astigmatism but reading glasses will still be needed unless monovision is opted for (Monovision is a situation where the master eye is set for distance vision and the other eye set for near vision. Not everyone is suitable for this and a monovision trial is necessary beforehand).

Toric implants are able to correct pre-existing astigmatism and are useful in correcting the visual distortion that it causes. Lastly, multifocal implants are used to alleviate the symptoms of presbyopia or ‘lao hua’. In general, patients with multifocal implants enjoy good functional vision without the need for reading glasses although side effects of glare and haloes may occur in dim light conditions. Fortunately, these visual side effects tend to get better with time. A newer method of cataract surgery where a femtosecond laser is used for part of the procedure is also available (FLACS or Femtosecond Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery). The downtime after cataract surgery is usually 3-4 weeks and medicated eye drops needed for about 6 weeks. Vision is usually clear on the first day but may take about a week to improve in some cases.

Eye Cataract


Types of Intraocular implants

Types of Intraocular implants

Simulated vision with a monofocal implant

Simulated vision with a ‘standard’ or ‘monofocal’ implant. Distance vision is good but near vision is blurred.

Simulated vision with trifocal implant

Simulated vision with ‘trifocal’ implant for the correction of presbyopia or ‘lao hua’. Good vision for both distance and near. However, in dim light conditions, there may be ‘haloes’ and ‘glare’.

Eye doctor doing eye surgery

Cataract surgery is usually performed with local anaesthetic and sedation.

Cataract Removal Surgery

Cataract surgery involves the removal of the cataract via a small incision and the insertion of an artificial implant which is designed to stay in the eye permanently.

Dr Eugene Tay

Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist

Eye Specialist Clinic in Singapore

Over 20 years of clinical experience

He graduated from St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College of the University of London in 1997 and is one of few surgeons to have received all basic, advanced and sub-specialty/fellowship training at the internationally renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. Therefore, he is well positioned to own his very own eye clinic in Singapore. He trained to sub-specialist fellowship levels in laser refractive and anterior segment surgery at the Gimbel Eye Centre in Canada and also Oculoplastic surgery at Moorfields Eye Hospital. With Dr Tay’s unrivalled expertise, Nova Eye Centre is the eye specialist clinic of choice in Singapore.

Dr Eugene Tay Eye Doctor