Exploring the Different Types of Cataract Surgery
The modern approach to cataract treatment involves the removal of the clouded lens and replacement with a clear synthetic intraocular transplant. Surgeons may utilize a manual approach or laser-assisted surgical technique to perform the cataract removal and intraocular lens transplant. The manual approach, called standard phacoemulsification, utilizes an ultrasonic device to break up the cataract material and remove it from your eye. With the laser option, surgeons perform the cataract removal process with a high-tech medical laser. You must determine which cataract surgery option would work best for you.
Standard Phaco ProcedureIf you choose the standard phaco cataract surgery procedure, you will receive a topical anesthetic to completely numb the eye, and an IV will be started to provide you with gentle, conscious sedation to help you relax during the procedure. Your surgeon will keep your eyelids open using a speculum to ensure precise removal of the damaged lens.
The lens removal process begins with an incision through the upper surface of the cornea to allow for the placement of the ultrasonic device. The device sends fast vibrations through the cataract material to emulsify the lens for prompt removal with gentle suction. Your surgeon will then place the selected intraocular lens into place and secure the incision with a suture.
Laser Cataract SurgeryLaser cataract surgery begins with local anesthetic and the placement of a speculum to keep your eyelids open. The laser equipment precisely measures the location and depth of the cornea and cataract-affected surface.
Using the 3D planning function of the laser, your surgeon will make a precise incision through the corneal surface. The surgeon moves on to the removal of the capsule surface and cataract with the energy generated by the laser. If needed, your surgeon can correct corneal abnormalities, such as astigmatism, before placing the intraocular lens implant.
Dropless Surgical TechniqueWhen you choose to have standard or laser cataract surgery performed, you may be instructed to utilize antibiotic eye drops for several days before your surgical appointment. If you wish to avoid this practice, you can actually request an advanced dropless cataract surgery alternative instead. With this option, your surgeon places an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medication in your eyes during the cataract removal procedure. Your eyes slowly absorb this medication to keep the need for additional eye drops at bay.
Intraocular Lens Transplant ConsiderationsBefore scheduling your surgery, the surgeon will examine your eye to determine which intraocular lens implant will work best for you. The implants work with the natural shape of your cornea to maximize your ability to see clearly after recovering from the cataract surgery. If you are already near or far sighted, your surgeon may suggest a multi-focal lens, which decreases the chance of needing glasses after the recovery period. There are also toric lens implants to correct astigmatism.