How Does Cataract Surgery Work?


Quick Answer

Cataract surgery is the removal of the eye lens, which is then replaced with a plastic intraocular lens implant. The procedure is performed when there is clouding of the eye lens, which is the transparent region of the eye through which light passes and reaches the retina. Cataracts can cause vision distortion, states MedicineNet.

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How Does Cataract Surgery Work?
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Full Answer

Cataract surgery is necessary for patients who have significant vision loss, notes MedicineNet. Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that an ophthalmologist can perform in less than an hour. There are two main surgical procedures for a cataract removal used today, which are phacoemulsification and extracapsular cataract extraction, according to Mayo Clinic.

Phacoemulsification involves making a small incision in the cornea and introducing an ultrasound probe into the lens. The emission of ultrasound waves from the probe disintegrates the cataract into smaller pieces, which are then removed by suctioning. With this procedure, the entire lens capsule is left in place. The artificial lens is then placed in this lens capsule.

The extracapsular cataract extraction procedure requires making a much larger incision in the cornea to excise the cataract in one entire piece. The intraocular lens implant is placed in the lens capsule, states MedicineNet. Sutures are needed to close the incision.

After surgery, patient may need to use prescribed eye drops for a specified length of time and avoid doing certain activities. It can take up to 8 weeks for patients to heal after cataract surgery.

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