Cataract surgery is the only way to remove a cataract and restore clear vision. The doctors operating at Coastal Surgical are experts in cataract surgery and will recommend cataract surgery when the cataracts begin to limit your activities. The procedure is performed in our Surgery Center and takes approximately 20 minutes.
During cataract surgery, the natural lens of your eye is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant. The surgical process involves a small incision using a phacoemulsification technique and why many eye doctors refer to this as micro-surgery. This means that the cataract surgery is accomplished using the smallest possible incision, and removal of the lens material is accomplished using an ultrasonic needle. Once the eye has been properly dilated, the eye is then prepared with a cleaning solution. Topical anesthetic is then administered to the surface of the eye. Next, under a microscope an incision of 3 millimeters in length is then created at the junction of the cornea (the clear structure on the front of the eye) and the sclera (the white part of the eye). Another dose of anesthetic is then administered inside the eye through this incision. The front part of the lens envelope, known as the lens capsule, is carefully opened so that the lens material can be removed. This is accomplished using a needle-like ultrasonic device, which pulverizes the hardened and yellowed lens proteins known as the cataract. The pulverized material is simultaneously vacuumed from the eye.
Once all of the cataract material has been removed a foldable intraocular lens is then inserted through the original incision and positioned into the lens capsule. The lens will remain inside your eye in this location without moving. Intraocular lenses cannot be felt or sensed in any way by the patient.
Cataract surgery is virtually painless and recovery is quick. Your eye may be patched when you leave the facility, but the patch will be removed the next day. You will notice improvement in your vision; however, you may still need glasses for some tasks. In 60 percent of cataract surgery patients, the capsule that holds the new intraocular lens becomes cloudy. This can happen anywhere from months to years after the procedure. If this occurs, a laser is used to make a small opening in the capsule. This procedure takes just a few minutes in the office and will make your vision clear again.
Following your cataract surgery you will need to carefully follow the post-operative instruction provided by your cataract surgeon. You must use the eye drops as prescribed and be careful not rub, bump, or put any pressure on your eye. Be sure to discuss driving expectations following your cataract surgery. Many patients feel itching after cataract surgery and this is quite normal. You can clean your eyelids with tissue or cotton balls to remove any discharge.
If glasses are required following surgery to achieve the best possible vision either for close up work such as reading, or for distance purposes, these will be prescribed three to four weeks after surgery when full recovery is expected. If both eyes are scheduled to have surgery within a few weeks of each other, then glasses, if needed, will be prescribed following full recovery of the second eye. Patients may elect for premium lens implants for cataract surgery that reduce dependence on glasses. In some cases, glasses may not be required at all.