Alternate Names : Cataract extraction, Cataract surgery
Cataract removal is a procedure to remove a clouded lens (cataract) from the eye. Cataracts are removed to improve vision. The procedure almost always includes placing an artificial lens in the eye.
Overview & Description
The normal lens of the eye is transparent (clear). As a cataract develops, the lens becomes cloudy and blocks light from entering your eye. Without enough light, you cannot see as clearly.
Cataracts are painless. Mostly, they develop in the elderly. But sometimes children are born with clouded lenses that are caused by infections or other problems before birth. These are called congenital cataracts.
Surgery is usually recommended for people who cannot see well because of their cataracts. The surgery is performed in a hospital or surgery center in an outpatient clinic.
- Adults are usually awake for the procedure. You will receive local anesthesia (numbing medicine) to block pain and a sedative to relax you.
- Children usually receive general anesthesia to make them unconscious and unable to feel pain.
Looking through a microscope, the doctor will make a small incision (cut) in the eye. The surgeon then removes the lens. It can be removed in several ways, depending upon the type of cataract you have. Two ways to remove it are:
- With surgical instruments and suction
- With an instrument and machine that uses sound waves (ultrasonic energy) to break up the lens and suction it out. This is called phacoemulsification.
A man-made lens, called an artificial intraocular lens (IOL), is usually placed next. It will help improve your vision.
The doctor will close the incision with very small sutures (stitches) or use a self-sealing (sutureless) method. If sutures are placed, they may need to be removed later.
The surgery usually lasts less than an hour. Most times, just one eye is done. If both eyes need it, your surgeon may recommend waiting 1 to 2 months before having cataract surgery on the other eye.
Why the Procedure Is Performed
The purpose of cataract surgery is to remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial lens to restore clear vision. Your doctor may recommend cataract removal surgery if you have loss of vision or other vision problems caused by clouding of your lens.
Cataracts usually do not harm your eye, so surgery can be done when it is convenient for you.
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