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How are cataracts surgically removed?

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Quick Answer

During cataract surgery, two small incisions and a circular opening are made in the eye before sound waves are used to break up the cataract, notes WebMD. Depending on the patient, an intraocular lens implant may be positioned inside of the lens capsule.

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Full Answer

The two specific surgeries done to remove cataracts are phacoemulsification and extracapsular cataract extraction, also known as ECCE, says WebMD. During these surgeries, the front part of the lens capsule is removed while the back of the lens capsule is left intact to keep the vitreous gel found in the back of the eye from oozing.

Anesthetic eye drops are usually used during cataract surgery, notes WebMD. Local anesthesia might also be used, which may include a relaxing sedative paired with an injection around the eye to numb the nerves and prevent eye movement and blinking during the operation. There are also instances where the patient may need a general anesthesia.

Once the surgery is complete and the patient has received proper aftercare instructions, the eye may need to be wrapped for a night after the surgery, says WebMD. The individual wears a shield over his eye at night for a week after the surgery. A check up may be scheduled a couple of days after the procedure.

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