Cataracts - Surgery

What type of surgery did you have for cataracts? Please describe the procedure.

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What are the different types of cataract surgery, and what risks are involved?

Cataract surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. Some sedation is ordinarily given intravenously just before the beginning of the surgery, which usually takes under a half-hour.

Most cataract surgery today is done through a small incision by phaco-emulsification or by other extracapsular means through a slightly larger incision. In more than 95% of cases, a new lens, known as a lens implant or intraocular lens is inserted at the same time as the cataract removal. You will not feel the new lens within the eye. Most patients need to limit their activities for only a few days and recovery time is brief.

Although modern techniques have made cataract surgery quite safe, complications can occur with any surgical procedure, including cataract extraction. These include hemorrhage, infection, loss of a portion of the cataract into the eye, displacement of the intraocular lens, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. Fortunately, all these complications are rare and usually can be managed. Blindness is a rare complication of cataract surgery.

Modern cataract surgery involves leaving a portion of the lens capsule within the eye to support the intraocular lens. This capsule may become cloudy at a later time, necessitating opening of the capsule through the use of a laser. This outpatient procedure is called a YAG laser capsulotomy. It is painless and rarely results in increased eye pressure or other eye problems.

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