Surgical cataract removal
The operation for cataract may be performed under either a general or a local anesthetic; in neither case is there any pain. The operation is performed using an operating microscope and tiny instruments of remarkable delicacy and precision.
Cataract surgery is generally recognized to be one of the most successful operations in all surgery.
It is now commonly performed on a day-care basis, with the patient returning home after the operation. It is usual to operate on only one eye at each operation.
Why the removal of cataract should be done
Assuming the rest of the eye is healthy, cataract surgery offers a good chance of restoring virtually normal vision in the eye. This will brings a remarkable improvement in the quality of life to people who were in varying degrees disabled before the operation.
How it is performed
Before the operation, eye drops are put in to enlarge the pupil widely so that most of the front surface of the lens is exposed.
The procedure is painless and takes around 20-30 minutes. It usually involves a local anesthetic, but can be done under general anesthetic.
A minute incision is made in the cornea and an ultrasound probe used to soften the lens, and then to suck out the softened tissue.
A new plastic lens (intraocular lens implant) is put in place inside the lens capsule and stitched with a fine nylon suture half the diameter of a human hair.
Results of cataract surgery
Patients are no longer immobilized after cataract surgery, and indeed are encouraged to move about freely as soon as possible afterwards. The corneal incision takes about a month to heal, but it will usually be about ten weeks before the corneal curvature has ceased to alter.
Patients will generally require glasses similar to the ones they used before the cataract developed.
The power of the implanted lens is usually calculated so that distance vision will be normal without glasses. Ordinary reading glasses will then be needed for close work.