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Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that typically takes only 20 to 30 minutes. Here’s a brief overview of the process:

  • You’ll first receive a number of medicated eye drops, to prevent infection and inflammation, and to ensure you feel no pain during the surgery. You won’t be put to sleep for the procedure, but you will receive a mild sedative, to make sure you stay relaxed and comfortable throughout.
  • After making a tiny incision in your cornea, your surgeon will use a probe the size of a pen tip to break apart and remove the old lens. The most common technique for removing cataracts is a state-of-the-art process called phacoemulsification. Phacoemulsification: Also called "phaco," this cataract surgery procedure involves using a device with a vibrating, ultrasonic tip to gently break up cataracts and remove them from the eye., in which high-frequency sound waves are used to break the lens into removable pieces.
  • Once the old lens has been removed, Dr. Sanan will insert the replacement IOL into your eye. Typically, the IOL is rolled up into the tip of an injector tool, so that it can be inserted through the same tiny incision. Once injected, the IOL unfolds perfectly into place.
  • Because of the small surgical incision, you probably won’t require stitches – your eye should heal itself naturally. You will have a protective patch placed over your eye for recovery.

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Conditions of the Aging Eye

As we grow older, our bodies mature and change naturally. Within the aging eye, these changes often develop into conditions that impact the quality of your vision. But if you're experiencing age-related visual problems, don't give up – with successful treatment, it may be possible to have clearer, brighter and sharper vision than you've had for a long, long time.

Some common problems with aging eyes:

Cataracts – A cataract is a change in the clarity, or a "clouding," of the lens in your eye. Your crystalline lens, which is made mostly of protein and water, can become clouded enough to prevent light and images from reaching the retina. A cataract can be the reason sharp ../images become blurred and seeing things at night becomes more difficult. More than half of all Americans age 65 and older have a cataract¹, and cataracts are the leading cause of treatable blindness. For more on cataract treatment, read about cataract surgery.

Cataract-aged patients may also have a condition known as presbyopia.

Presbyopia – As people enter their 40s, they may experience blurred vision when performing everyday "close-up" tasks such as reading, sewing or working at the computer. This condition, called presbyopia, occurs as the lens in the eye becomes less flexible, and the muscles controlling the lens weaken. This is why some people need reading glasses or need to hold objects farther away to see them.

 

The Procedure

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that will only take a few hours. When you arrive, your eyes may be treated with eye drops and anesthetic to minimize any discomfort during the operation.

During this routine operation, a small incision is made in the eye. Your surgeon will use a tiny instrument (about the size of a pen tip) to remove your clouded lens. This can be done with either an AquaLase®* device, which uses gentle pulses of fluid to wash away your cloudy lens, or an ultrasonic instrument that breaks up and gently removes your cloudy lens (called phacoemulsification). Once this is accomplished, your surgeon will insert an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) into your eye.

 

After Cataract Surgery

After the procedure, you'll be given a short time to rest. Then, the very same day, you can go home. Within the next 24 hours, your doctor will probably want to see you for an evaluation. Drops will be prescribed to guard against infection and to help your eyes heal. For a few days, you may need to wear a clear shield, especially at night, to prevent you from rubbing your eye.

Eye Disease Information and Resources: Cataract Fact Sheet. Womens Eye Health Task Force: Schepens Eye Research Institute, Inc; 2003.

*The AQUALASE® device uses technology invented by Mark S. Andrew, MD, and Mylina Lincoln-Andrew, MS.