Cataract removal with insertion of lens

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What is cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is a procedure used to remove the lens of the eyes and replace it with a new artificial lens. Cataract usually affects older people, and it results in a cloudy lens that impairs normal visions. Normally, the lens should be clear to allow light to hit the retina of the eye.

Symptoms of cataracts include blurry or double vision, trouble with bright lights, halos around light, and difficulty seeing at night.

Why would I get cataract surgery?

You will need to do a cataract surgery if it is causing problems related to your vision. These problems can make it hard for you to carry out your regular daily activity. Your doctor may also suggest surgery if a cataract makes it difficult for him/her to examine your eye to treat or monitor problems like diabetic retinopathy.

What happens during cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is a simple procedure that generally takes around 40 minutes.

First, your doctor will place eyedrops in your eye to dilate your pupil. The procedure is done under local anesthetic, so your doctor will use a shot to numb the eye. This will decrease sensitivity to pain in the area. You also may be given a sedative to help you relax. 

There are 2 types of procedures to remove cataracts:

Small-incision cataract surgery (Phacoemulsification)

The surgeon makes a tiny opening in the eye to reach the clouded lens. Then, a small probe that gives off high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound)  is used to dissolve the core, which is the hard part of the cloudy lens. The lens will be broken into pieces, and the doctor will suction these fragments from the eye and puts in a new plastic lens.

Extracapsular surgery

Your doctor may recommend the procedure if you are not a good candidate for phacoemulsification.

During this procedure, the doctor, instead of breaking the lens into pieces, will remove the lens in one piece and inserts the manufactured lens.

What to expect after the surgery?

After the surgery, you will notice that colors became brighter. This is mainly because the new lens allows more light to enter your eyes.

However, you may have any of the following symptoms for one to two days:

  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Dryness
  • Burning sensation 
  • Itching

You will be prescribed some medications or eye drops to decrease inflammation and discomfort. Also, you will be asked to avoid the following things for few weeks after the surgery:

  • Lifting heavy things.
  • Touching your eyes.
  • Bending over.
  • Doing anything that risks injuring your eye.

Complete healing usually takes up to eight weeks.

Conclusion

Cataract surgery is a safe, non-painful surgery and has a very low chance of complications. You will have three to four follow-up appointments with your ophthalmologist to monitor your recovery and detect any complications. You will need to do an eye exam to be prescribed new eyeglasses one month after the surgery.

People who've had cataract surgery may develop a secondary cataract. The medical term for this common complication is known as posterior capsule opacification (PCO).

Citations

Mayo Clinic: Cataract surgery

Nhs: Cataract surgery

Johns Hopkins: Cataract Surgery

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