Cataract Surgery

The most common form of cataract surgery today is a process called phacoemulsification . After the eye is fully numbed with drops, the surgeon will make a very small incision in the surface of the eye near the cornea . The size of this incision will vary based on the type of implant chosen. A thin probe is inserted through the incision that uses ultrasonic vibrations to dissolve (phacoemulsify) the lens. These tiny fragmented pieces are then sucked out through the same probe. Once the cataract is removed, an artificial lens is placed into the same thin capsular bag that the cataract occupied.  In this most modern method, cataract surgery can usually be performed in less than 30 minutes and usually requires only minimal sedation and numbing drops.

In cases where the lens is so dense that it cannot be dissolved using phacoemulsification a procedure called Extracapsular Cataract Surgery is performed.  This technique requires a larger incision so that the cataract can be removed in one piece. An artificial lens is placed in the same capsular bag as with the phacoemulsification technique. This surgical technique requires a number of sutures to close the wound, and visual recovery is often slower. Extracapsular cataract removal removal usually requires the area around the eye to be numbed and might require an eye patch.

Subsequent to the lens surgery, vision enhancement procedures may be performed to obtain optimal vision.  These procedures might include:

  • Astigmatic Keratotomy (incisions in the outer cornea to alter its shape)
  • Secondary low-power lens implant insertion (insertion over the primary lens)
  • Intraocular lens exchange (changing the lens implant to optimize focus)
  • Conductive Keratoplasty® (radio-frequency energy applied to the outer cornea to alter its shape)
  • PRK or LASIK (laser shaping procedures of the cornea )