Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed procedure in the US, replacing the cloudy natural lens of the eye with a clear artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). Cataracts affect millions of people each year, including more than half of all Americans over the age of 65, and cause a progressive, painless loss of vision, as well as:
- Blurred/hazy vision
- Spots in front of the eye(s)
- Sensitivity to glare
- A feeling of “film” over the eye(s)
- A temporary improvement in near vision
We perform a minimally invasive, small-incision, no-stitch cataract surgery called phacoemulsification (“phaco”) surgery. During this procedure, a tiny incision is made in the eye to make room for a small ultrasonic probe. This probe breaks up, or emulsifies, the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The pieces are then suctioned out through the probe. Once the cloudy lens has been removed, the artificial IOL is implanted in the eye. Advanced foldable IOLs can be inserted through the same small incision from which the original lens was removed. Because of its small size and design, the surgical incision typically self seals and can heal on its own. As a result, only topical (eye drop) anesthesia is required and there is no need for injections or stitching in the eye at all.
Watch a video about how cataract surgery works
Surgery usually takes only a few minutes to perform and is painless for most patients. The small incision used significantly reduces recovery times while improving safety and reducing the risk of bleeding, scarring, irritation and distortion. After the procedure, a shield will be placed over the eye and you will be asked to go home and rest. You will return home the very same day, but will need someone to drive you home. Typically your vision will be improved on the first post-operative day, however there is some variability with this based on how your eye heals. For the next few days, you may experience itching, mild discomfort, fluid discharge and sensitivity to light and touch. Your doctor will prescribe eye drops to help the healing process and to reduce the risk of infection. By four weeks after surgery your eye will be healed enough to resume all your usual activities and get a prescription for glasses if needed.
There are several different IOLs available to help each patient achieve the best possible results from his/her cataract surgery. Accommodative/Multifocal IOLs allow for full vision correction at near, intermediate and far distances, completely eliminating the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses in most patients. Toric IOLs can also correct astigmatism.
During cataract surgery, the clouded lens in the eye is removed from the lens capsule and replaced with a clear, artificial lens called an IOL. Weeks, months or years after the surgery, some patients experience a loss of vision. This is attributable to a hazy posterior capsule. The posterior capsule is located behind the artificial lens that was implanted during cataract surgery. It is sometimes called an after cataract or secondary membrane.
If an examination confirms that this is the case, and if the clouded capsule prevents the patient from doing what he or she wants or needs to do, then a YAG capsulotomy may be recommended. This simple procedure uses a YAG laser to open a window in the posterior capsule and restore clear vision. YAG capsulotomy is a painless outpatient procedure that takes less than 15 minutes. Vision improvement is quick, and the patient can resume normal activities immediately.
To learn more about Cataract Surgery, please call 212.753.6464 today to schedule a consultation.