Cataract surgery usually takes about an hour or less. It's an outpatient procedure, which means that the patient goes home from the hospital or clinic after a brief period of rest.
Many eye surgeons use phacoemulsification to remove a cataract. The surgeon makes a tiny cut in the side of the patient's cornea. He may use a laser to do this to be more precise. He then inserts a tiny ultrasound wand. The ultrasound waves break up the clouded lens into pieces that are small enough for him to suction out of the incision. After removing the cataract, the surgeon replaces the lens with an artificial, permanent, intraocular lens.