Surgical Treatment for Cataracts
Cataracts occur as the result of the clouding of the eye’s lens. Although typically related to the aging process, they can occur in younger people, as the result of certain medical conditions, procedures, or medications. In addition, a cataract can occur unilaterally or bilaterally, but is not contagious from one eye to the other. The most common treatment for a cataract is surgical intervention, which can dramatically improve one’s vision.
During this procedure, the eye surgeon fashions a lateral corneal incision to remove the clouded lens core. The remaining portion of the lens is extracted via a suction device. Following the removal of the cloudy, natural lens, an artificial plastic lens known as an intraocular lens is implanted and secured into place. The new lens cannot be felt or seen with the naked eye, and frequently, the patient reports a rapid improvement in his visual clarity and acuity.
This procedure also involves a lateral corneal incision. After the incision is made, the eye surgeon inserts a probe into the area to emulsify or break down the lens. Following the emulsification of the lens, it is suctioned out. Phacoemulsification is very popular, and although it still requires an incision, it is generally smaller than the incision required for the extracapsular surgical procedure.
Aftercare for these surgical procedures involves keeping the eye clean and treating the surgical site with eye drops or ointments. It is important for patients to immediately report bleeding, pain, blurred vision, headache and itching to their doctors, who can evaluate the symptoms and treat as appropriate.