– Ed

Today’s cataract surgery can be labeled miraculous compared to the days before Intra Ocular Lens (IOL) implants. In the olden days, the cataract lens was removed completely and the refracting power required to see, had to be provided with a spectacle lens. Because the spectacle lens could only be placed in a position some 13mm from where the natural lens was, it caused about thirty percent magnification. To the patient, everything looked much bigger and affected spatial judgment. These glasses were also ugly and very heavy. It was really tough to cope after cataract extractions.

There is really no trauma with an IOL implant. It can turn a blind eye, caused by a cataract, into an eye with perfectly normal vision, with no side effects. The procedure is painless and quick and you will be done as an outpatient.

Before the surgery

The ophthalmologist will take measurements to determine the strength of the IOL you will require. You will be asked about the medicine you take and some may have to be set aside before the surgery. He may prescribe eye drops before the surgery, which will reduce the risk of infection and reduce swelling during and after the surgery.

With phacoemulsification cataract surgery, an ultrasound instrument breaks up the center of the cloudy lens and suctions it out.

The day of the surgery

You may be asked not to eat any food for six hours before the surgery. As a rule, you will be seen as an outpatient. You may be given medicine to help you relax. Your eye will be numbed with eye drops or injections around the eye. Although you will be awake during the procedure, you won’t see what they are doing. You may be aware of lights and movement.

Your surgeon will enter into the eye through a tiny incision (cut, created by laser or a blade) near the edge of your cornea (the clear covering on the front of your eye). The surgeon uses these incisions to reach the lens in your eye. Using very small instruments, he or she will break up the opaque material inside the lens capsule and suction it out. Then your new lens is inserted into place. There is mostly no reason to stitch the tiny incision, because it will close by itself. Your eye will be covered with a shield for comfort and to protect against infection. After resting in the recovery room for about thirty minutes, you can go home.


Your ophthalmologist will give you clear instructions as to the do’s and don’ts while recovering. You will have to use eye drops for a while to guard against infection. You may have to wear a shield for a while, avoid soapy water, don’t rub your eye and wear a shield while sleeping. Your ophthalmologist will give the green light when you can get back to all your normal activities again.

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