If you are diagnosed with a cataract, your early symptoms may be improved with new glasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses or magnifying lenses. If these changes don’t help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Cataract surgery is an easy procedure, is usually done on an outpatient basis, and doesn’t require much downtime.
The surgery involves removing your cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens called an IOL, or intraocular lens. An IOL is a clear, plastic lens that requires no care and becomes a permanent part of your eye.
Cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to restore vision, with serious complications occurring in fewer than one in 1,000 cases. This outpatient surgery takes only a few hours, allowing you to quickly get back to your life.
What to expect
Before Your Surgery
Your surgeon will measure the curve of your cornea and the size and shape of your eye. Your doctor may ask you to temporarily stop taking certain medications that increase the risk of bleeding during surgery. You will need to provide a list of current medications, as some medications may need to be discontinued for a few days prior to surgery.
During Your Surgery
Preparation At the surgery center, you will be given a mild sedative and transferred – once you’re sedated – into the operating room. The nurses and technicians will cleanse the area around your eye, and drops will be put into your eye to dilate the pupil. An anesthetic shot or numbing eye drops will be used to make sure you’ll be comfortable throughout the surgery.
Removing Your Old Lens Once you are numb and the equipment is in place, your doctor will make a tiny incision in your cornea (the clear outer covering of your eye) to allow insertion of the surgical tools. A probe is inserted into the incision and high-frequency sound waves are used to break your clouded lens apart into tiny fragments. As this is happening, the surgeon will use the probe to suction the pieces from your eye.
Inserting Your New Lens Using the same tiny incision, an injector tool is inserted into the eye. Using this tool, your surgeon places the IOL into the capsule of the eye to replace the lens that was removed. The new lens unfolds into place and is secured. Your surgeon may then make some slight adjustments to align the IOL based on the measurements taken before surgery.