The procedure of removing cataracts is conducted in a specialized operating theatre under sterile conditions and lasts 20 minutes. After the pupils are widened, the operation takes place under local anesthesia in the form of eye drops. A small incision approximately 3 mm long is made on the surface of the cornea, through which the natural lens (having been shrunk previously with ultrasound) is extracted, and a flexible, artificial, intra-ocular lens is implanted.
Step 1 – The cloudy lens is broken down and sucked out.
Step 2 – A flexible, artificial lens is carefully implanted.
Step 3 – The artificial lens is positioned correctly and the incision is sealed without stitches.
The patient does not need to be hospitalized after this intervention, and is able to go home soon afterwards, in the company of a friend or relative. The operated eye is bandaged and a post-operative treatment course of eye drops is necessary for a few weeks after the phacoemulsification.
In most cases, a noticeable improvement in visual acuity occurs the following day but it takes a few weeks for the final result to be apparent. The patient should be able to drive and return to work within a few days of the operation.
One should keep in mind, however, that, should there be cataracts in both eyes, a patient’s eyesight will be highly unbalanced during the interval between the two separate treatments.
Phacoemulsification can be used in conjunction with other corrective methods, e.g. LASIK or PRK for more precise correction of astigmatism (cylindrical vision).