Cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens in your eye and replaces it with a clear artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL). It improves your vision.
Cataract surgery is a safe, common procedure that usually requires no hospital stay. Depending on the type of cataract, you can return to work after about a week.
Phacoemulsification, the most common and effective cataract surgery, uses an ultrasonic device to break up the cloudy lens in the eye into tiny pieces. After the fragments are removed, an intraocular lens (IOL) is then inserted into the natural capsule of the lens to replace it.
The ultrasonic power used during the phacoemulsification process is based on the hardness of the nucleus of the lens. Higher levels of ultrasonic energy can cause a number of complications, including corneal edema and macular edema.
During the phacoemulsification procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision near the edge of your eye and inserts an ultrasonic probe tip into the hole. As the tool vibrates at an ultrasonic speed, it slashes the cloudy lens into tiny pieces and suction them out of your eye.
Extracapsular Extraction is a type of cataract surgery in which the entire lens is removed instead of being broken into smaller pieces. It is performed using a very small incision and can be done in some cases where the phacoemulsification method isn’t possible.
The advantage of this technique is that it allows your surgeon to remove the lens in one piece and is much less invasive than the intracapsular cataract extraction procedure. It also allows for an artificial lens to be inserted after the procedure and is less likely to cause complications.
The most common complication of phacoemulsification is capsule rupture and the loss of lens remnants into the vitreous cavity, which can result in permanent vision loss. This is why many surgeons will choose to switch to extracapsular surgery when phacoemulsification won’t work in their eyes.
Laser surgery is a safe and effective treatment for many eye conditions. It removes your dependency on glasses or contact lenses by reshaping the cornea to focus light correctly on the retina at the back of the eye.
LASIK is the most popular form of laser vision correction, and it involves a small flap being cut in the cornea. Once the laser reshapes your cornea, the surgeon folds it back in place and secures it without stitches or bandages.
In the past, a microkeratome was used to create this flap, but now a newer and safer method is used called femtosecond laser.
Another type of laser treatment is pan retinal photocoagulation, which can treat and seal leaking blood vessels that cause serious retinal conditions such as diabetic retinopathy or macular edema. It also reduces the risk of a retinal detachment or vitreous hemorrhage that can further damage your vision. It works by slowing the growth of abnormal blood vessels with short pulses of laser light, which is much safer than traditional laser treatments.
Implanting an Artificial Lens
When you have cataract surgery, the clouded natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). Intraocular lenses are a great option to improve your vision after cataract surgery because they do not require glasses.
Your eye doctor, or ophthalmologist, will help you select the correct IOL for your eyes. They will take complex measurements of your eyes to help them pick the right implant.
There are many different types of IOLs available. Some are specialized for specific vision needs, such as bifocal IOLs that focus at different distances.
Another type of IOL that is sometimes used during cataract surgery is an anterior chamber IOL. These are typically placed behind the iris to provide added support for the implant during cataract surgery.
There are also multifocal IOLs that expand your range of vision. These increase your near and distant vision, improving your quality of life.