More than a million cataract surgeries are performed each year on an outpatient basis.
During cataract eye surgery, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with a plastic one. One method is called Phacoemulsification which involves using ultrasound to break up the cataract. A small incision is made in the eye and suction is used to remove the cataract. After the cataract is successfully removed, an intraocular lens is implanted. This lens becomes a permanent part of your eye and you can’t see it or feel it.
Another method of removing the clouded lens involves Extracapsular surgery. A longer incision is made on the side of the cornea and the core of the cloudy lens is removed in one piece. The rest of the lens is removed by suction. Discuss the benefits and risks of each with your doctor.
Unlike Lasik eye surgery, most cataract eye surgery patients will still need to wear prescription glasses. Cataract eye surgery enjoys an impressive 98 percent success rate and as it is considered a necessary, rather than cosmetic surgery, insurance usually covers the cost.
There are two types of lenses used in cataract surgery: Monofocal and Multifocal.
With the monofocal lens implant, you’ll experience normal vision at one distance, usually far distance and may need glasses for near vision. If you have astigmatism, which is very common, the monofocal lens is the one you’ll need.
With a multifocal intraocular lens implant, you’ll experience normal vision at all distances, which may eliminate the need for prescription glasses. One drawback to the multifocal lens is that you most likely will see circles or “halos” around lights at night which could interfere with your night vision.
Unlike Lasik eye surgery, cataract eye surgery is reversible in that the intraocular lens can be replaced. For example, if you choose to have the multifocal lens implanted and you find the halos around lights disturbing you may opt for the monofocal lens. If you’re having cataract surgery in both eyes, however you would need to have the same kind of lens implanted in each eye.
Complete healing may take several weeks but you can go about your normal routine fairly quickly. As with other eye surgeries, after having cataract eye surgery, follow your doctor’s instructions completely, and report any unusual side effects or severe pain. Your eye will naturally itch and you’ll notice dryness while the eye is healing. Be sure and use the eye drops the doctor gives you. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor to ask questions or to report any bothersome symptoms.