Cataract occurs when the lens of the eye becomes clouded resulting in decreased vision that gets progressively worse over time.
Cataract removal surgery is a procedure to remove a clouded lens from the eye. The procedure may include placing an artificial lens in the eye too which generally happens in most of the cases.
The normal lens of the eye is transparent. As a cataract progresses, the lens becomes cloudy and blocks light from entering your eye. Without enough light, patient is unable to see as clearly.
Cataracts are painless. Mostly, they develop in the elderly people. But sometimes children are born with clouded lenses that are caused by infections or other problems before birth. These are known as congenital cataracts.
The surgery is performed in a hospital or surgery center in an outpatient clinic.
Adults are usually awake for the procedure. You will receive local anesthesia to block pain and a sedative to relax you. Children usually receive general anesthesia to make them unconscious and unable to feel pain.
Looking through a microscope, the doctor will make a small incision in the eye. The surgeon then removes the lens. It can be removed in several ways, depending upon the type of cataract you have. The two ways to remove it are:
With surgical instruments and suction With an instrument and machine that uses sound waves (ultrasonic energy) to break up the lens and suction it out. This is called phacoemulsification.
A man-made lens, called an artificial intraocular lens (IOL), is usually placed next. It will help improve your vision.
The doctor will close the incision with very small sutures or use a self-sealing (sutureless) method. Sutures are needed to be removed later.
The surgery usually takes less than an hour. Usually, surgery is done on one eye at a time. If both eyes need cataract removal surgery, then a gap of 1 to 2 months is recommended.
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