A cataract removal is usually advised if the cataract formation is enough to cause a visual complaint. How is the cataract surgery performed?
The cataract surgery must only be performed by an ophthalmologist whose specialization is focused on the removal of cataracts. The surgeon uses a microscope, small instruments and other advanced technologies to conduct the surgery. Proper anesthesia plays a vital role in the removal of any cataract.
Topical anesthesia is used wherein the anesthesia takes the form of eye drops and placed on the affected eye. This type of anesthesia only eliminates the feeling of discomfort, but cannot prevent the eye from making any movement. The type of anesthesia that the eye surgeon will use depends on the method of cataract surgery he/she will choose as well as the overall condition of the patient’s eye.
An incision will be created in the affected eye to provide access for the removal of the cataract and allow the appropriate cataract lens implant to be put in place. Incisions can be done on two places of the eye, clear cornea or the sclera.
The 2 different methods in removing a cataract:
Extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE)
This method needs a large incision around 10-12 mm in length in the white part of the eye (sclera) and then the surgeon takes away the hard central part of the cloudy lens in one piece. This method is usually reserved for the most advanced stage cataracts.
Phacoemulsification (Phaco method)
This method requires a smaller incision usually (3.2 – 2.2 mm or less) and done on the clear cornea or sclera. After the incision, the eye surgeon inserts a tiny device into the eye that produces ultrasonic waves to soften and break down the cloudy center of the lens and then suctioning process will take place.
Most eye surgeons prefer the phacoemulsification technique in performing a cataract eye surgery procedure because of the smaller incisions required. IOL implants are used to replace the natural lens which is removed in both methods of surgery.