Cataracts can be treated differently depending on the severity of the case. You can improve your vision temporarily by using glasses or other visual aids. More progressed cases need cataract surgery in order to restore vision. Cataract surgery involves the removal of the eye’s defective lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The procedure lasts between 15-30 minutes and is practically painless.
Cataract surgery is considered one of the safes and most effective surgical procedures. A small incision will be made at or near the cornea to make way for an instrument about the size of a pen tip to break up and remove the cloudy lens. The IOL is then inserted and set to its permanent position.
There are three options of removing the cataract:
Phacoemulsification or phaco: The most commonly used technique, this is done by making a very small incision (2mm or smaller) on the side of the cornea. A probe which emits ultrasound waves is then inserted. This will soften and break up the lens until it can be removed by suction. Stitches are rarely needed in this operation as the incision is very small, hence giving faster recovery period.
Extracapsular surgery: This type of surgery requires a larger incision and stitches because the cloudy part of the lens is removed in one piece. Though it has longer healing time, more than 90 percent of patients who receive this type of procedure see 20/40 or better.
Intracapsular surgery: Dating back to hundreds of years ago, this surgery is done by removing both the lens and the capsule. Today, Intracapsular surgery is hardly ever performed and is generally reserved for cases in which the lens has been dislocated because of injury and an accompanying disease.