2020 01 15
Thanks to 15 min surgery Mr. petras from Vilnius has all the colours back in his life
“I feel like I am about to become a youngster again,” 79-year old Vilnius resident Petras Silickas sounds really happy and excited. The man who is approaching his 80th birthday is enjoying life and looking at the world full of bright colours again. A few years ago diagnosis of advanced cataract put Mr Silickas at risk of blindness, but thanks to the under 20-minute surgery, the colours to his life were restored. Dr Paulius Rudalevičius, doctor ophthalmologist and ophthalmic microsurgeon working at the Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Centre replaced the clouded lenses caused by cataract in his both eyes.
When did you notice the deterioration in your vision?
It was about 20 years ago. I think some changes developed in my body with age. When reading a newspaper I felt the need to hold it further away from me so that I could see better, until finally, my arms became too short (laughs). During my visit to the out-patient unit, I was prescribed glasses, and I wore them for 15 years. However, some five years ago my eyesight became worse, which made me get a new pair. From then I kept changing glasses approximately every two years. I felt that something was not right. My brother encouraged me to see the doctor and I had surgery on one eye in March of last year, and on the other one – in November. I feel great and I do not use glasses for reading anymore! Previously I was only able to read a moving line on TV when standing right in front of it, but I can now see everything from the armchair, sitting like a king.
Most people fear operations and surgical intervention. Were you anxious before your cataract surgery?
Not at all. My surgery was performed by the same doctor who had previously helped my brother. He felt great following the surgery and he still does five years on. My brother assured me that the surgery was not painful, so I was singing on my way to the operating theatre. Besides, the surgeon had explained everything in great detail, and I understood what he would be doing, which made me feel confident.
How long did everything take? How long was the surgery?
There was a wall clock in the theatre, and I saw that the surgery took ten or fifteen minutes. I felt no pain or other discomfort, even dental treatment is more complicated. When the doctor removed my bandage in the morning I was surprised by the beautiful scenes on TV, and the gorgeous colours (laughs). I went back home and sat down to watch TV, and it really felt great. When I went for the second surgery, it was just as easy – it felt like I was going for a chat with the doctor.
How do you take care of your health? Other people keep putting off visiting their doctor.
I used to be scared as well. In Marijampole I lived opposite the hospital, looking out at the bright windows of operating theatres. When I saw doctors and nurses running around behind those windows in the evening, I would think to myself – God forbid that I would end up there. The place looked full of stress and pain. I have had a complex five-hour heart bypass surgery myself, so a fifteen-minute eye surgery does not look like a big problem to me.
Now when you are able to read and watch anything you fancy, what are your choices?
As I have said, soon I will become a youngster again – I will turn eighty (laughs). I am interested in so many things, I read the main news portals, I own a tablet and read various things on it. I also read books and magazines that my children bring over. I remember my father saying at one of his big birthdays, that it felt strange for him to be getting old; his heart was the same as in the days of his youth, and it just wanted to love and rejoice. All I can say is that I feel the same.
Modern technology and methods bring back good vision
Dr Paulius Rudalevičius, doctor ophthalmologist and ophthalmic microsurgeon at the Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, who performed surgery on Mr Petras says that cataract is an eye condition when the lens in the eye becomes cloudy. This condition is quite common in ophthalmology practice and mostly affects older people, because cloudiness of the lens is caused by slowing down metabolism.
Dr Rudalevičius claims that the progressing disease manifests itself in deteriorating vision. Patients come across difficulties when reading or driving, even when they wear special spectacles; in the long term they start feeling as if they are looking at objects through a fog, they experience double vision, objects acquire a yellow tint, and the progressing diseases pose the risk of blindness. The eye lens replacement surgery is the only way to stop the disease and regain good eyesight.
“Not so long ago, cataract surgery was rather complicated and evoked fear. In the past, the course of cataract surgery was much more complex. The natural opaque lens was removed through a 6–8 mm incision and a new artificial intraocular lens were inserted in its place. This was a rather invasive surgery and serious trauma to the eye,” says the doctor. “Today it takes under 20 minutes to operate on a single eye. The surgeon makes a 2 mm incision in the eye, which requires no suturing and heals in a few weeks. The cloudy lens is sucked out through the little opening in the eye and is replaced with the artificial implant. Such operations are performed with local anaesthetics, no general anaesthetic is required.”
The ophthalmologist explains that patients can go home a few hours after the surgery, and the bandage is removed the next day.
“Patients can resume their normal life very soon after eye lens replacement surgery. Special eye drops are administered for several weeks, and we recommend being more careful due to the risk of infection – it is a good idea to wash your hands more frequently and avoid rubbing the eyes. Depending on the patient’s health condition and concurrent illnesses, 50-100% of vision can be regained after the surgery,” says Dr Paulius Rudalevičius.