iTRACE Wavefront Aberrometer.
Older people often have both cataract and retinal changes simultaneously and it can be difficult to separate whether the visual symptoms are due to a problem with the front of the eye (the cornea), the lens (cataract) or the retina (the light-sensitive nerve tissue which functions like the film or a chip in a camera, at the back of the eye).
This is an important distinction because performing both cataract surgery and a vitreoretinal procedure at the same visit in the operating theatre, is the most efficient way to improve vision, if there are both cataracts and a retinal problem. Combining the procedures saves money, makes the recovery faster and does not require readmission to the day surgery.
Combined surgery means that a standard cataract operation with intraocular lens is performed and then a different set of instruments are used to perform the retinal surgery (e.g. for macular hole or macular pucker etc.).
The iTRACE is a device which projects a pattern of light through the eye tissues and is able to examine how distorted that pattern is; after passing through the cornea, to the lens. This is a very simple stress free examination which involves sitting down in front of the device. It is similar to performing a visual field test or many other eye tests.
This test also grades the transparency of the cataract, the effect of any post-cataract scarring on the support structure, called the capsule, and gives insight as to whether there are visually significant floaters.