Doctors remove cataracts surgically by removing the natural lens and replacing it with a plastic one, according to the American Optometric Association. During the first eight weeks after surgery, the surgeon monitors the healing of the eye, but the lens is permanent and requires no special care.
Surgery is the only effective treatment for removal of cataracts, according to the National Eye Institute. Patients often wait several years after the initial discovery of a cataract before having the surgery. Some patients never have the surgery, but depend on a change in their prescription eyewear, sunglasses and additional lighting. Normally, surgeons remove cataracts when they interfere with the patientﾒs quality of life, but in some instances, cataracts require removal when they do not interfere with vision to allow for other types of eye treatments.
The surgery usually occurs when the patient is under general anesthesia, according to WebMD. The doctor makes a small cut in the side of the cornea, using a laser. A device sends sound waves into the eye to break up the lens, and the surgeon uses suction to remove the resulting pieces. He then inserts the prosthetic lens into the eye. Most patients have the procedure on an outpatient basis, and it greatly improves their distance vision.