A cataract is a common condition that causes a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, and affects millions of people each year, including more than half of all Americans over the age of 65. Cloudiness develops as a result of a buildup of protein in the lens and causes a progressive, painless loss of vision.
Patients with cataracts may begin to experience troubling symptoms such as blurred vision, poor night vision, seeing halos and frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions, which can indicate a need for treatment. Treatment of cataracts is achieved through cataract surgery, which replaces the cloudy lens with an artificial one for clear vision. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the US, and can be performed quickly and easily with a high success rate and minimal risk of complications.
Cataract surgery Procedure
Cataract surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that involves numbing the eyes with anesthesia and then making a tiny incision into which an ultrasonic probe is inserted. The probe breaks up, or emulsifies, the cloudy lens into tiny pieces and then suctions them out of the eye. Once the cloudy lens has been removed, a new artificial lens is implanted into the eye. This lens is known as an intraocular lens (IOL), and can often be inserted through the same incision that the old lens was removed from.
Surgery usually takes approximately 20 minutes to perform. Patients can return home the very same day, but will need someone to drive them home. Post-operative care includes the use of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops. Patients are examined on day one, day seven and approximately one month after surgery. Recovery from cataract surgery is usually rapid with minimal discomfort.