Cataract surgery today is safe, effective and quite common. In fact, if you have been told that you have a cataract, you are definitely not alone. Each year in the United States, more than 2.5 million people have cataract surgery.
Thanks to advanced cataract surgical procedures and lens implant technology, cataract surgery is not only one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in the United States, but it is also one of the safest and most successful surgical procedures that you can have. Cataract surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and usually only requires a few hours of your time from beginning to end.
How is Cataract Surgery Performed?
Cataract surgery today is quite comfortable. First, the procedure will begin with your eye being treated with an anesthetic so that you will feel little if anything during your surgery and minimal if any discomfort.
Your eye surgeon operates while looking through a highly specialized microscope, designed exclusively for this purpose. A very small incision, less than 3 cm, is made at the edge of the cornea.
Through the tiny incision, a microsurgical, ultrasonic, oscillating probe is inserted, which gently fragments the cloudy lens, using high frequency sound waves. Simultaneously, this same instrument suctions out the fragmented pieces. This process is called “phacoemulsification”. The posterior capsule, an elastic bag-like membrane that held the lens, is left in place.
Once all the minuscule bits of the cataract have been removed, a tiny new clear implant lens is folded, inserted through the small incision, and allowed to open up inside the posterior capsule.
The surgery typically takes 20-30 minutes, and is performed on an outpatient basis. This means that you will have the surgery and then go home, usually around 30 minutes afterwards. Most of the time only local anesthesia is used, so you will be awake for the entire process. After the surgery, you are taken to the recovery room and then released. You will need someone to drive you home.