About Cataract Surgery

What happens during cataract surgery? Phacoemulsification

Cataract surgery is the only way to remove a cataract and restore clear vision. The doctors at our practice are experts in cataract surgery and will recommend cataract surgery when the cataracts begin to limit your activities. The procedure is performed in a state of the art cataract surgery center that is AAAHC certified by the state.

During cataract surgery, the natural lens of your eye is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant. The surgical process involves a small incision phacoemulsification technique and why many eye doctors refer to this as micro-surgery. This means that the cataract surgery is accomplished using the smallest possible incision, and removal of the lens material is accomplished using an ultrasonic needle. Once the eye has been properly dilated, the eye is then prepared with a cleaning solution. Topical anesthetic is then administered to the surface of the eye. Next, under a microscope an incision of 3 millimeters in length is then created at the junction of the cornea (the clear structure on the front of the eye) and the sclera (the white part of the eye). Another dose of anesthetic is then administered inside the eye through this incision. The front part of the lens envelope, know as the lens capsule, is carefully opened so that the lens material can be removed. This is accomplished using a needle-like ultrasonic device, which pulverizes the hardened and yellowed lens proteins known as the cataract. The pulverized material is simultaneously vacuumed from the eye.

Once all of the cataract material has been removed a foldable intraocular lens is then inserted through the original incision and positioned into the lens capsule. The lens will remain inside your eye in this location without moving. Intraocular lenses cannot be felt or sensed in any way by the patient.

Understanding Intraocular Lens Implant Options

Please note: The type of lens selected by you and your surgeon will impact how you see for the remainder of your life.

Once you have made the decision to undergo cataract surgery with your eye doctor you will have a series of decisions to make related to the type of artificial lens implant you will have. Up until recently everyone who had cataract surgery received a monofocal lens implant. This lens enabled for vision of one distance, typically distances far away. With new innovations a better lens is now available. These lenses are referred to as premium lenses and come in various formats or types

  • Multifocal
  • Accomodating
  • Toric

Some of these lenses may even provide the chances of living the remainder of life glasses free! You and your eye doctor will work together to determine the right lens for your eyes. If a premium lens implant is suitable and the chances are success are good you can explore this path. Premium lenses typically come with an extra cost that Medicare does not cover. If you want more independence from glasses than perhaps paying a little extra money makes sense.

Multifocal lens implants are lenses with multiple focal points, designed to replace cataracts and correct presbyopia in order to provide a full range of vision. for near, intermediate and distance vision. At the same time these lenses offer enhanced image quality at all distances.

Accommodating lens implants are premium lenses that contain a hinge that allows for both near and far vision. The hinge helps mimick the natural lens by moving inside the eye to accommodate. The Crystalens (Bausch & Lomb) currently is the only FDA approved intraocular lens (IOL) that uses a method called accommodation.

Toric Lens Implants are astigmatism correcting Monofocal Lens implants. This is a lens with a single focal point designed to correct for cataracts and pre-existing astigmatism. These lenses will provide distance vision while glasses will be required for near vision activities such as reading.

What happens after cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is virtually painless and recovery is quick. Your eye may be patched when you leave the facility, but the patch will be removed the next day. You will notice improvement in your vision; however, you may still need glasses for some tasks. In 60 percent of cataract surgery patients, the capsule that holds the new intraocular lens becomes cloudy. This can happen anywhere from months to years after the procedure. If this occurs, a laser is used to make a small opening in the capsule. This procedure takes just a few minutes in the office and will make your vision clear again.

Following your cataract surgery at our cataract center you will need to carefully follow the post-operative instruction of the cataract surgeons. You must use the eye drops as prescribed and be careful not rub, bump, or put any pressure on your eye. Be sure to discuss driving after your surgery and get the proper instructions for driving after cataract surgery. Many patients feel itching after cataract surgery and this is quite normal. You can clean your eyelids with tissue or cotton balls to remove any discharge. Our cataract eye doctors will prescribe eyedrops or other medication to prevent infection and control the pressure of the eye.

Choosing Your Cataract Surgeon

Selecting a cataract surgeon can be difficult if you are not properly educated about cataracts, cataract surgery and advancements in the new technology. We hope that our educational ophthalmology website has provided an easy to understand outlook on the state of cataract surgery. Although cataract surgery is one of the most performed medical procedures it is highly suggested that you carefully select a cataract surgeon with a base level of experience who is using the latest techniques and technologies.