What Happens During Cataract Surgery?

Happy couple celebrating after Cataract Surgery

Cataracts are a natural part of the aging problem. In most cases, cataracts develop because of aging. They can form earlier under certain circumstances.

Whatever causes them from patient to patient, cataracts present a pretty big problem. As they develop over time, they cause unavoidable vision loss.

In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world. This means that removing cataracts is very well understood.

Cataract surgery is one of the safest medical procedures you can have. About 98% of cataract surgeries are successful.

So what exactly makes cataract surgery so successful? Keep reading to find out what happens during cataract surgery!

Selecting an IOL

The point of cataract surgery is to remove the lens of the eye. The lens is the part of the eye where the cataract forms.

During cataract surgery, the lens is replaced with an artificial lens called an IOL. IOLs, short for intraocular lenses, are often made of silicone and acrylic materials. There are several different varieties of IOLs.

Monofocal IOLs

Monofocal IOLs are the most basic form of IOLs. Monofocal IOLs only provide vision at one specific distance, either near or far.

You will need to use glasses or contacts after surgery to make up for the uncorrected distance.

Multifocal IOLs

Multifocal IOLs are a premium IOL. They are able to correct for many ranges of vision thanks to their design. They function similarly to bifocal glasses. As a premium IOL, patients don’t need to wear glasses after cataract surgery.

Accommodating IOLs

Accommodating IOLs are also premium IOLs and correct for several distances. Rather than working like bifocals, they mimic how the natural lens moves inside of the eye.

This allows the accommodating IOL to adjust for focal length.

Toric IOLs

Toric IOLs are specifically designed to treat astigmatism. They are the only IOL designed for patients with astigmatism.

You and your surgeon will select an IOL before the surgery. When selecting an IOL, it’s important to take your lifestyle into account.

How the Surgery Works

Before the procedure begins, you’ll receive numbing eye drops to prevent pain during cataract surgery. To replace the natural lens, the surgeon will create an incision in your eye through the cornea.

Once the eye is open, the natural lens is broken into several pieces. This is with a process called phacoemulsification which uses soundwaves to break the lens apart.

The pieces are removed carefully using suction. The surgeon then inserts the IOL directly where the natural lens sat.

From there, the cornea is simply closed, meaning you will not need stitches or sutures. The tissue will reconnect to itself, though it may take some time.

You will need to be very careful during your recovery, as this flap can easily become dislodged.

The entire surgery will only take 10 minutes to perform. You will need to wait for the sedation to wear off before you can go home.

Thinking it may be time for cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract screening at Eye Physicians & Surgeons of Arizona in Scottsdale, AZ to find out!

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