Modern cataract surgery technology allows for a quick and painless procedure, usually 15 to 30 minutes with a rapid recovery time. The use of a topical and/or local anesthetic means you can be in and out of the surgical center the same day with no overnight stay.
The procedure begins with an incision in the cornea so small that stitches are rarely needed. Then begins a process called phacoemulsification, or "phaco" for short. A rapidly oscillating ultrasonic probe is placed through the incision and used to break up the cloudy lens into small pieces. The tip of this same probe is used to suction out the broken-up pieces. The new lens is then inserted, and the recovery begins.
Some offices now have the capability of making these incisions with a laser.
Intraocular Lens Choices
Cataract surgery is a very important decision, but the type of synthetic lens you choose can be equally significant. Depending on your lifestyle and the anatomy of your eyes, the right lens could not only restore your vision but may improve it beyond what you've ever experienced. Here are a few of your options:
Monofocal lenses are the basic replacement lenses and are designed to provide clear vision at one distance. They will remove the cloudiness you are experiencing but cannot correct pre-existing problems such as astigmatism or presbyopia. Monofocal lenses typically focus on only objects in the distance. This means that if you wear glasses or contact lenses now, you will still need them to see up close such as when reading or viewing the computer.
This is a technique in which a monofocal lens for near vision is used in one eye and one for distance vision is used in the other. This requires adaptation, since each eye is oriented differently, but can provide a wider range of improved vision.
These are monofocal lenses, but they move in response to your eyes' own muscles, giving you the ability to see multiple focal points. However, your range of vision may not be as great as you would get from multifocal lenses.
Multifocal lenses can change how you see the world by allowing you a full range of improved vision, from near to far. They can drastically reduce your dependency on glasses or contacts, even if you've required them your entire life.
Astigmatism-correcting lenses, also known as toric lenses, are specifically designed to correct for astigmatism. Their unique shape minimizes imperfections in your cornea, allowing light to enter your eye with much less distortion. Even if you've needed glasses for years, a toric lens can greatly reduce your dependence on glasses for distance vision.