A small incision is made in the sclera or near the edge of the clear cornea.
A special protective viscoelastic material, or air, is placed inside the eye.
The anterior lens bag is opened on top using very small forceps. Sometimes, a laser is used.
Fluid is used to separate the lens from its outer bag. This is called hydrodissection.
Next, a special ultrasonic probe is used to break up the cataract lens. This is called phacoemulsification. The lens fragments are aspirated and removed from the eye.
The natural lens bag is left intact. It is polished and cleaned, using irrigation and aspiration.
In most cases, the folded intraocular lens is placed through the small incision. It is unfolded into the lens bag. This modern approach usually requires no suture for the very small incision. The surgery is complete.
The computerized cataract ultrasonic system provides total surgeon control of both intraocular pressure and cataract extraction. Other techniques may be used in special cases, and exploration continues for the future. Cataracts mostly affect people over 60 years of age, but they can occur at any age. Most cataract surgeries are an out-patient procedure, taking just a few minutes, and allow a patient to return to most daily activities within a couple of days. Cataract surgery, as with all surgeries, does contain an element of risk which must be fully considered and discussed with your eye care provider.