Here are the facts. Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgical procedure in the United States with more than 1.6 million procedures performed each year. Cataract surgery is a short procedure that usually takes less than 20 minutes to perform. Typically, patients will be in the surgery center for a total of 90 minutes from start to finish, which includes pre-operative and post-operative instructions and tests. Cataract surgery is typically performed with local anesthesia only. The majority of people say they experienced no pain during their procedure. A small number of patients experience soreness that can be treated with aspirin. Stronger pain medications are available as needed of course.
Cataract Removal Technique
During cataract surgery, we make a microincision (an opening less than 1/8 inch long) in the cornea to allow the surgeon to remove the cataract. Your surgeon uses a marvelous technique called phacoemulsification to liquefy the eye's lens with high frequency sonic waves. These waves soften and break the lens into tiny fragments that can be aspirated (vacuumed) out of the lens capsule. After this step, the cataract has been removed. In the old days, this would be where surgery would end, but modern cataract surgery takes an extra step to improve vision after surgery.
An artificial lens implant is folded into a small package and inserted into the eye through the microincision. This lens unfolds within the eye into its proper and permanent position. Placing an intraocular lens implant removes the need for unsightly cataract glasses that people had to wear after surgery in the 1950s. This lens can never develop a cataract, so there is rarely a reason or need to remove or exchange it. The lens implant is selected for nearsightedness or farsightedness. An advanced technology premium lens implant can correct both nearsightedness and farsightedness, as well as astigmatismusing certain technologies.
After Cataract Surgery
For the first several hours after surgery, patients will need to wear an eye shield over the healing eye. They may eat, watch television, read, and walk short, familiar distances. After removal of the shield, they will need to administer eye drops. The day after surgery, most people are able to resume their normal daily activities, including driving. Other restrictions which may apply will be discussed during the patient’s initial consultation and postoperative instructions.