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What are some things to know about cataract surgery?

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Quick Answer

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. It takes about an hour to perform and can be conducted with ultrasound, explains Mayo Clinic. Intraocular lenses can be fitted to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness, and some lenses protect the eye against ultraviolet light.

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Full Answer

There are basically two ways to perform cataract surgery, according to Mayo Clinic. In one type of surgery, a tiny probe is inserted into the clouded lens. The lens is then broken up by ultrasound. This procedure, called phacoemulsification, makes the lens easier to extract. In another type of cataract surgery, a larger incision is made in the cornea, and the clouded lens is removed. Because this incision is larger than the incision used in phacoemulsification, it requires stitches to close. In both types of surgery, the capsule that once held the natural lens is left in place to support the artificial lens.

The intraocular lens is permanent and requires no care on the part of the patient, states Mayo Clinic. Some types are inserted without the need for sutures. After the cataract surgery, the patient has follow-up visits with his doctor to ensure all is going well. The doctor may prescribe eye drops or ointment to prevent infection and recommend the patient wear an eye patch for the first few days after surgery. A person usually makes a complete recovery from cataract surgery in about eight weeks.

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