Modern cataract removal is truly an incredible operation. The days of having an eye wound that opened up six clock hours, or more, of your eye and lying in bed with sandbags on each side of your ears for a week (although groundbreaking at the time) are indeed gone. We use tiny incisions of less than 2mm to access the cataract. The cataract sits just behind your pupil, so the pupil has to be dilated to allow access to it.
The technique that is used for removing cataracts is known as phacoemulsification. Patients often ask or refer to this as “laser“, but in fact it is a very sophisticated probe that uses a powerful vacuum and fluid with a vibrating tip that breaks the cataract into small pieces and sucks it out of the eye. 30 years ago the cataract would be removed as one whole piece. However, it is now dismantled into small pieces inside the eye resulting in a smaller wound size. You can use the same laser that is used in laser eye correction to make the openings for the eye and lens, but this is not as common as using highly refined surgical blades. The new lens is implanted when all of the old lens material is removed. Most of the time you don’t need stitches and can leave the hospital the same day.
An experienced cataract surgeon can make a difference
There is no doubt that cataract surgery has become quicker and safer in recent years but it is still an operation and shouldn’t be dismissed as a ‘minor thing’. An experienced surgeon can make all the difference to the colour and quality of your vision making day to day life easier and more enjoyable. If cataracts are making your vision blurred and stopping you from doing things you enjoy, do seek an expert opinion. It’s a fantastic operation!