The only way to treat a cataract is to surgically remove it and implant an artificial lens in its place.
We use local anesthesia (in the form of eyedrops) and light (twilight) sedation. A tiny incision is made in the cornea, the clear membrane on the surface of the eye. A fine instrument inserted through the incision uses ultrasound vibrations to break up the lens into a fine pulp. This pulp is then carefully removed under microscopic guidance.
Once the cataract has been completely removed, your surgeon will implant the artificial lens (intraocular lens or IOL) using a special lens injector. In the majority of cases the IOL will sit within the natural ‘bag’ that held the original crystalline lens, and sutures are not usually required.
The surgery takes less than an hour, and generally the total time at the hospital is approximately three hours. Once the surgery is complete a clear shield will be placed over the eye, which stays on for four hours post-surgery. At this stage post-operative drops (which consist of an antibiotic drop and two anti-inflammatory drops) will be commenced.
Usually the dominant eye is operated on first. Then, a minimum of two weeks later, the second eye can be operated on.
The implanted lens can be designed to give a range of vision, from distance to close. The lens power will be calculated using scans performed at your initial consult for surgery. At this consult, clinical staff will discuss the available options and work with you to decide what vision range will work best.