When a doctor tells you that you have a cataract, and it should be removed, it may be a frightening prospect. But, when you understand what a cataract is, how it will be removed, and, most of all, the priceless rewards cataract surgery can bring, you're likely to wish you'd had the procedure sooner. After all, when the cataract is gone, your vision can be clearer, brighter, and sharper than it's been for a long, long time.
Modern medicine has made great advances in cataract surgery. Today, millions of people every year undergo this vision-improving procedure. And, they see excellent results.
It's a simple operation. A tiny incision is made in the eye. Through this incision, the surgeon inserts an ultrasonic probe. The probe, about the size of a pen tip, breaks the cloudy lens into pieces. The same probe vacuums these tiny pieces out of the eye. This process is called phacoemulsification or phaco.
Once the capsule has been emptied of the clouded lens, the next step is to replace it, that is, to implant an artificial lens that will do the work of the old, natural lens.
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. You'll spend just a few hours at the site. Because your eyes will be numbed with anesthesia, you should feel nothing.
After the surgery, you'll be given a few hours to rest. Then, the very same day, you can go home. The next day, your doctor will probably want to see you for an evaluation. Drops may be prescribed to guard against infection and help eyes heal. For a few days, you may need to wear a patch, especially at night, to keep away irritants.
When your cataract has been removed, and a new, clear lens has taken its place, it may seem like a miracle. All the things you couldn't see clearly are bright, clear, and vivid again. In fact, many people will tell you they haven't seen life so clearly in years.
Once you see how good the world looks, you'll be so glad - like millions of others just like you - that a cataract is one thing that won't cloud your world anymore.
1. Lang GK. 0phthalmology . New york, NY: Thieme, New York; 2000.