Cataract surgery is a medical procedure to improve the cloudy or blurred vision of the eyes. Cataracts usually occur in older people, but it can also be present at birth or may result due to physical or chemical injury. Cataract surgery involves removing the lens of the eye and replaces it with an artificial one made up of plastic, silicone or acrylic. It is performed by an ophthalmologist on an outpatient basis and is considered quite safe. This procedure helps people who experience issues in their daily activities such as reading or driving.
There are different types of artificial lens that provide either distant or near vision or both, depending on the need of the patient.
The doctor will first perform several eye tests and then place eye drops to dilate the pupil. You will be given local anesthesia and sedative to numb the surgical site and help you feel relax. The doctor will then remove the lens of the eye in order to transmit the artificial one. This can be done by two methods.
The first method uses an ultrasound probe to break the lens and remove it, also known as phacoemulsification. The surgeon will make a tiny incision in your cornea and inserts a thin needle probe into the lens where the cataract is present. The probe will then transmit ultrasound waves, which emulsify the cataract and then lens are removed. The lens capsule is left intact where the new lens will be placed.
The other method includes making an incision in the eye and removing the lens. This method, also known as extracapsular cataract extraction, is rarely used as it requires a larger incision than phaceomulsification. However, it is an effective procedure if the patient has other eye conditions.
Once the cataract has been removed, the surgeon will implant a clear artificial lens, also known as an intraocular lens (IOL), in the same empty lens area. The incision will then be closed with stitches. Once the surgery is complete, you won’t feel any difference from before as you won’t be able to feel or see the new lens. You don’t need to take extra care of the lens and it will become part of your eye.
Generally, cataract surgery is considered a safe treatment option, if performed by trained and experienced surgeon. However, there still may be few complications associated, which the patient should discuss with the doctor before the operation. These complications could be:
- Decreased vision
- Swelling around the eye
- Discharge from the eye
- Sensitivity from light
- Increased pain
- Flashes of light or new floaters
- Vision loss
Nausea and vomiting
Post operative care
After the surgery, you can return home the same day. At first, you may experience blurred vision due to injury to the eye. You can expect clear and improved vision within a few days of the surgery, once your eye heals completely. It is normal to feel itching or irritation after the surgery for a couple of days, but notify the doctor if it continues for long.
You will need to visit the doctor the same week of the surgery and then after a month to check your recovery.
Avoid rubbing and pushing on your eye. Wear the patch on your eye for a few days to prevent it from infection and do not indulge in activities that may injure the eye.