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What Happens During Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure that aims to restore vision for cataract patients. Cataracts may cause blurry vision, poor night vision, or double vision.

The surgical procedure entails the extraction of the eye’s natural lens, which is then replaced with a synthetic lens known as an intraocular lens (IOL).

If you or a loved one is considering cataract surgery, learn what happens during the procedure, including the recovery room, postoperative care, and vision improvement. Here is what happens during cataract surgery:

Preoperative Assessment

A preoperative assessment is carried out to evaluate a patient’s eligibility for cataract surgery. During the assessment, the surgeon will evaluate the severity of the cataract(s), overall eye health, and the individual’s suitability for the surgery.

This will include a comprehensive eye examination to check the eye’s shape and size, the cornea’s thickness, and measure the patient’s eye pressure. The surgeon will also take into account any underlying medical conditions or medications that might affect the surgery. The surgeon will advise the patient on the best surgical approach based on the assessment.


This is an injection given near the eye to make it numb. It aims to make the patient comfortable during the procedure and to reduce any discomfort. Using anesthesia also eliminates the need for general anesthesia, which comes with risks and side effects. The surgeon may also administer a sedative to help calm the patient if they experience discomfort during the procedure.

Small Incision Phacoemulsification

This technique allows the physician to remove the cataract while preserving most of the natural lens capsule. Small incision phacoemulsification is performed by making a tiny incision to the front of the eye and inserting a small ultrasound probe that dissolves the cloudy lens.

The liquefied portion is vacuumed out of the eye and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens. The incision does not require a stitch and usually heals within a few weeks, with patients experiencing minimal discomfort.

Intraocular Lens (IOL) Implantation

An IOL is placed within the capsular bag, a thin membrane containing the natural lens. The IOL is carefully selected to match the patient’s vision needs, and unlike contact lenses, the IOL stays permanently within the eye.

There are different types of IOLs, including multifocal, toric, and monofocal lenses. The surgeon can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type and help the patient select the best option.

Closing the Incision

After the IOL is implanted, the surgeon will close the incision. The incision is usually small and does not require stitches. The surgeon can use self-sealing products that heal naturally without much intervention and minimize the risk of complications. They may also apply eye drops or medicated ointments to the eye to promote healing and prevent infections. 

Recovery Room

After the surgery, patients may feel sleepy or drowsy from the anesthesia. They may spend some time in the recovery room until they are alert enough to go home. The doctor will monitor the patient’s vital signs and provide postoperative instructions. Patients should avoid rubbing or touching the operated eye and wear a protective shield over the eye to protect it from accidental damage. 

Postoperative Care

The doctor may prescribe pain or anti-inflammatory drugs to manage discomfort and reduce swelling. Patients should also avoid strenuous activities, including bending, lifting heavy objects, or coughing. Patients should take care of their eyes by washing their hands before applying eye medicine, avoiding putting pressure on the operated eye, and attending all follow-up appointments with the doctor.

Vision Improvement

The primary goal of cataract surgery is to improve vision. The doctor removes the clouded lens and replaces it with an artificial lens that can restore clear vision. After the surgery, most patients see an improvement in their eyesight within a few days.

Some patients may take longer to regain good vision, and some might even need to wear prescription glasses after the surgery. Your surgeon will advise you about the appropriate post-surgery vision care.

Improve Your Vision With Cataract Surgery Today

Don’t let cataracts cloud your vision and quality of life. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective solution that can help improve your vision. Find a reputable eye doctor who can provide you with a treatment plan for your procedure. Schedule your consultation for cataract surgery today.

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