How Surgery Works...
Surgeons gently remove the cloudy lens of the eye and replace it with an artificial lens implant to restore clear bright vision. The procedure is performed under a powerful microscope and involves two parts: First the eye's cloudy lens is removed. Second an artificial lens is inserted to replace the eye's focusing power.
How Surgery Works...
After the tissue around the eye is fully numbed the surgeon makes a very small opening at the edge of the eye to allow special instruments to reach inside. Then he or she guides an ultrasonic probe to gently break up and suction out the cloudy lens material. A specially selected lens implant is carefully placed inside where the eye's original lens used to be and the treatment is complete. The opening into the eye is so small that it heals without any stitches.
Surgeons use sophisticated ultrasonic technology to remove cataracts not lasers as is sometimes thought. This procedure known as phacoemulsification (phaco meaning lens and emulsification meaning to break into tiny pieces) uses a small probe with a tip that vibrates 40000-50000 times per second. In a matter of seconds the surgeon carefully guides the pulsating tip to gently break up the cloudy lens material and suction it away.
No surgery can be guaranteed but cataract surgery is one of the safest and most successful operations performed today. The few complications that do occur are usually resolved without any permanent affects. However this is a major surgical procedure and there is always the slight chance that a complication could result in loss of vision.
If you are nearsighted or farsighted the lens implant selected for your eye often corrects this problem. In addition to regaining clear vision your dependence on corrective lenses may be significantly reduced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is cataract surgery done?
Surgery is recommended when your eyesight causes daily frustration and is no longer working well for you. Our goal is to restore your vision to allow you to see and do the things you like.
How do I know if surgery can help me?
If your vision is impaired by cataracts but your eyes are healthy removing the cloudy lenses will likely restore good vision. However if you have retinal problems or other eye conditions removing the cataracts may only improve your vision not restore it. The examinations and testing before surgery will give our doctors a good indication of what your vision will be like after the procedure.
Can I have surgery if I have diabetes or glaucoma?
If diabetes is adequately controlled surgery is generally not a problem. Glaucoma does not usually pose a problem either. Sometimes the surgeon will perform an extra procedure along with cataract surgery to help control the glaucoma.
Are cataracts removed with a laser?
No a high-precision ultrasonic probe-often confused with a laser-is the instrument used by surgeons. This medical device relies on very high frequency vibrations to break up the cataract.
Can surgery be done on both eyes the same day?
If you require surgery in both eyes treatment will be scheduled at different times so you can see to get around since your eye may be closed for a few hours after surgery.
How safe is cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is considered one of the safest surgeries being done today. A highly experienced cataract surgeon can successfully improve vision in over 99% of all cases.
Can I get AIDS from cataract surgery?
No body fluids are exchanged during this operation so AIDS is not considered a risk.
Is cataract surgery always successful?
No surgery can be guaranteed but cataract surgery is one of the safest and most successful operations performed today. With our gifted surgeons the few complications that do occur are usually resolved without any permanent affects. However this is a major surgical procedure and there is always the slight chance that a complication could result in loss of vision.
What if I decide not to have surgery?
For years people may be unaware that their vision is slowly dimming due to cataracts. If for some reason you wish to put up with decreased vision due to cataracts the following advice may be helpful:
- Limit night time activities
- Use brighter light bulbs
- Use night lights
- Limit driving to daylight hours
- Use stronger eyeglasses
- Read large print books
- Stay close to familiar surroundings
- Wear sunglasses outdoors to minimize glare
- Get help with medications to avoid mistakes
- Use a phone with over-sized number keys
- Use handrails canes or other aids to prevent falls
What are the benefits of cataract surgery?
It is impossible to list all of them but often there are noticeable improvements in quality of life and the ability to participate in activities such as:
- Enjoy reading and watching TV
- Passing your driver's test
- Being able to drive at night
- Functioning without visual frustrations
- Feeling self-confidence in social activities
- Engaging in your hobbies
- Feeling a greater sense of security and independence
- Seeing the faces of those you love