An Overview Of How Cataract Surgery Is Performed

Cataracts and the surgery to remove cataracts are very common in the United States. Studies show that almost half of the people who reach the age of 80 have had cataracts or have had cataract surgery. Cataracts form when proteins in the front of the lens get clumped up together and cause cloudiness in the area in front of the lens. This condition leads to eye loss and blindness. If you are suffering from cataracts and your doctor has informed you that you need surgery, here is an overview of how the surgery will be performed.

Preparing for Surgery

The surgeon will typically use a topical anesthesia and a general or local anesthesia to numb the eye so you are comfortable during the surgery. The nerves in the eyes will be blocked so you can't see what is happening – although you might see brightness from the surgical light.

You will be laid on your back facing up and the eyes will be held open with a wire spring-like tool.

Cutting the Incisions

A diamond-bladed scalpel is used to make small incisions on the sides of the eye to create openings to insert the surgical instruments.

Insert Blue Stain

A blue stain is inserted into the eyes to color the skin over the cataract so the surgeon can see it clearly. The cataract has a covering that is similar to the skin of a lima bean. The skin is tough to visualize from the rest of the cataract and that is why a dye is used to give it a different color. A clear gel is then inserted into the eye to remove the left-over stain.

A small pliers-like instrument is inserted into the eye to grab the skin. The sin is moved around in a circular motion to bundle it up. The skin is then pulled out of the eye.

Removing the Cataract

Water is inserted into the eye to make the cataract pop off of the lens with a tiny straw. The straw has an ultrasonic tip on it and a vacuum. The ultrasonic vibrations and the water will emulsify the cataract and the vacuum will suck it out of the eye. Most of the cataract is removed this way. Some fibrous material will remain. A non-ultrasonic straw is inserted to inject salt water into the eye and the vacuum on this straw will grab and remove the fibrous material.

A diamond-tip polisher buffer is inserted to clean the wall of the inside of the eye. A clear gel is then inserted into the eye.

Lens Implant

A custom-ordered prescription lens is put into the eye to restore your vision. This is like having a permanent contact lens put into your eye. The lens is circular with two little nylon arms on it. The arms keep the lens centered over the middle of your eye. The clear gel is vacuumed out and replaced with salt water.

A protein contact lens that has been soaked in an antibiotic solution is placed over the eye overnight while it starts to heal and the eye is soaked down with the solution.

The entire procedure will take about ten minutes and you will be able to see better once the medications wear off. For more information, contact companies like Country Hills Eye Center.