Cataract surgery is performed when the normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy and therefore affects the quality of vision. This is usually an age-related problem but other conditions like diabetes or even trauma to the eye can also cause cataract to form.
The operation is mostly done under local anaesthetic as an in-hospital procedure and involves removing the cloudy lens from the eye. This is done through a self-sealing incision with a high-frequency ultrasound probe (phaco-emulsifier) which both breaks up the lens into microscopic fragments and vacuums these fragments out of the eye. This leaves the eye without a lens so an artificial lens implant is inserted through the same tiny incision at the same procedure. The type and strength of the implant lens is chosen by the surgeon to suite the individual’s eye.
The operation is painless and quick and usually takes around 20-30 minutes to perform. The patient returns home the same day and can expect fairly rapid improvement in vision over the course of a few days. Your eye surgeon will explain the procedure and post-operative care in more detail with you.