There has been a rapid evolution in cataract treatment over the past few years, which translates to added patient benefits, including improved visual outcomes and faster recoveries.
Cataract surgery is performed using a surgical technique Phaecoemulsification. This technique involves a no-stitch no needle approach that leads to a relatively fast visual recovery. During the surgical procedure the patient is first prepped using a local anesthetic and drops. After the eye has been sterilized the surgeon will make a 2.5 to 3 millimeter incision in the eye. In order to see inside the eye our doctors perform this delicate surgery with a powerful magnifying microscope.
A device known as the emulsifier is inserted and begins to ultrasonically crush the cataract. Once the cataract has been pulverized it is then suctioned out via a small tube. Once all of the old lens material has been evacuated a foldable intraocular lens is inserted in the same place as the old lens.
Phaecoemulsification is a quick outpatient procedure that corrects vision with little discomfort and rapid return to normal activities. It requires a tiny incision and breaks up the cataract with ultrasound waves. Next, a soft, flexible synthetic intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted into the lens capsule of the eye. There is also a multifocal lens option to provide distant, near and intermediate vision.
In most cases, the incision is so small that the eye heals rapidly with little or no discomfort. Drops are used after cataract surgery, and the patient is asked to refrain from swimming or water activity for two weeks.
Q. How should I prepare for phacoemulsification ?
No special preparation is needed for phacoemulsifiaction. Your ophthalmologist should make sure there are no associated pathologies, which can interfere with the prognosis, by making an extensive examination of your eyes including pupil dilation. A measurement of your eye's length and corneal curvature is crucial for calculating the power of the intraocular lens to be implanted.
Q. What should I do during surgery ?
During surgery you will be lying on the operating bed. The operating microscope will be in front of you and you will always see the microscope's bright light. Your face will be covered with sterile drapes and oxygen will be provided under them. You should never touch these drapes.
A small device will hold your lids open. During the procedure you should keep your eye as still as possible. The best way to achieve this is by looking at a single point throughout surgery. Usually the operating microscope's light is a good reference point. You will feel the hands of the surgeon on your forehead and the sound of the phacoemulsifier, similar to that of a hair trimmer. You will occasionally feel cold water over your eye that may even go down your cheek. This is the solution needed to keep your eye properly hydrated.
Q. What should I do after surgery ?
It is important not to squeeze your eye the first couple of days after surgery. Normally there will be some foreign body sensation, similar to having an eyelash in your eye. No bandages are required so the patient walks out of the operating room by his own means even though vision will be blurry for 2 or 3 days. Eyedrops will be prescribed for 2 to 3 weeks. Two weeks after surgery you will be able to perform any activity without risk.
Safe Surgery; Speedy Recovery
Not long ago, cataract surgery required a hospital stay and was usually postponed as long as possible. Today, the procedure is performed on an out-patient basis and takes only a few minutes. Patients are free to return home to rest in comfort and avoid the inconvenience and expense of a hospital stay. In most cases, daily activities such as driving and reading can be resumed almost immediately.
During the surgery, the cloudy lens is removed from the eye. In most cases, the focusing power of the natural lens is restored by replacing it with a permanent intraocular lens implant.
Cataract surgery is considered one of the most popular and highly successful procedures, with improved vision occurring in over 90 percent of cases. In fact, a study by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery recently reported that more than 98 percent of cataract patients had their vision successfully improved following surgery. Many patients report vision that is even better than before they developed cataracts. Results are permanent; once removed, cataracts will not reoccur.