The surgical procedure to remove a cataract is performed in a sterile operating room equipped with state-of-the-art technology. It is carried out under topical anesthesia, that is, through the application of ophthalmic anesthetic drops. The patient feels no pain during the procedure, which lasts only about 10 minutes. The technique consists of practising a micro-incision about the size of a pencil tip on the side of the cornea, through which to introduce surgical instruments and a new intraocular lens. The natural lens to be extracted is in its natural envelope, the “crystalline lens capsule”. The entire structure is similar to a Smarties candy-coated chocolate. The surgeon makes an opening on the front of the capsule (i.e., the Smarties’ shell) to get to the cataract (i.e., the chocolate inside). The cataract is next broken down into small pieces with high-energy ultrasonic waves and aspirated away.
Once the cataract removed, a flexible replacement lens is folded into an injector and inserted into the lens capsule. Most often, no stitches are necessary and the patient can return home shortly after surgery. Follow-up appointments are scheduled one day, one week and one month after the procedure. Normally, the eyes are operated on one at a time a few weeks apart. During the interval, the difference in vision between the eyes can sometimes be uncomfortable for the patient. However, the wait between the two operations is usually not too long.
Click on either one of the link below to open an informative pamphlet on intructions about cataract surgery:
Before the surgery
After the surgery