What Is Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is a medical procedure performed to remove the lens of the eye and, in most cases, replace it with an artificial lens. This surgery is commonly conducted to treat cataracts, which are clouding of the natural lens of the eye. Cataracts can cause blurry vision, difficulty with glare, and changes in color perception, significantly affecting daily activities like reading, driving, and distinguishing faces.

Understanding Cataracts

Cataracts develop when protein in the eyes clumps together, obscuring the lens that focuses light on the retina at the back of the eye. Although most commonly associated with aging, cataracts can also result from genetic disorders, medical conditions such as diabetes, prolonged exposure to UV rays, smoking, or eye injuries.

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As the cataract progresses, the lens becomes increasingly opaque, reducing the sharpness of the image reaching the retina.

The Procedure

Cataract surgery is one of the most common and successful surgical procedures performed worldwide. It generally involves a short operation lasting about 30 minutes and is usually done on an outpatient basis, meaning the patient can go home the same day. The surgery typically involves two main techniques:

Phacoemulsification (Phaco): This is the most common approach. The surgeon makes a small incision on the side of the cornea, the clear dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. A tiny probe is inserted into the eye that emits ultrasound waves to break up the cloudy lens into small pieces, which are then suctioned out.

Extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE): This technique is used for very advanced cataracts where the lens is too dense to break up using ultrasound. The entire lens is removed in one piece through a larger incision. This method requires more stitches and a longer recovery period.

Following the removal of the natural lens, an intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted into the lens capsule of the eye. IOLs are made of clear plastic, silicone, or acrylic materials and are permanent. They are designed to focus light onto the retina, restoring clear vision.

Recovery and Outcomes

Recovery from cataract surgery is generally quick and uncomplicated. Most patients notice an improvement in their vision soon after the surgery. However, complete healing of the eye may take a few weeks. Patients are typically advised to avoid strenuous activities and protect the eye from pressure or injury during the recovery phase.

Common postoperative instructions include using eye drops to prevent infection and inflammation, wearing an eye shield or glasses for protection, and attending follow-up appointments to monitor healing. The success rate of cataract surgery is high, with most individuals regaining very good quality vision.

Watch the video above to learn more if you’re considering cataract surgery in Shreveport, LA or nearby areas!


Cataract Surgery Is Safe

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