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What is Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens from the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL).

Cataracts occur when the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy, causing vision problems such as blurred or double vision, glare and sensitivity to light.

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the world and is generally performed as an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. It is a safe and effective procedure, with a high success rate of improving vision and reducing symptoms of cataracts. Most patients experience a significant improvement in their vision within a few days after surgery and can usually return to their usual activities in about a week.

Candidates of Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is usually recommended for people who suffer from vision problems due to cataracts. Cataracts are a common age-related condition that can cause blurred, blurry or cloudy vision, double vision, sensitivity to light and other vision problems. The severity of these symptoms can vary, but if they interfere with everyday activities such as driving, reading or watching, cataract surgery may be a good option.

Candidates for cataract procedure should have good overall health and should not have any other eye conditions that could interfere with surgery or recovery. Some medical conditions or medications may also need to be treated before surgery to reduce the risk of complications.

It is important to know that cataract surgery is an elective procedure, which means that it is not always necessary or recommended for all patients with cataracts. The ophthalmologist helps the patients decide if cataract surgery is the right option for them, depending on their individual needs and circumstances.

Cataracts. Human vision disorder, detailed anatomy of cataracts and healthy eye.

Preparation for Cataract Surgery

Preparation for cataract surgery involves several steps to ensure that the procedure goes smoothly and safely. Below are some steps that are part of preparing for cataract treatment.

Eye Examination

The ophthalmologist will perform a thorough exam to assess the extent of cataracts and determine if cataract surgery is the best option for you.

Medical History

The doctor reviews the patient’s medical record and any medications they are taking to ensure that they are healthy enough for surgery.

Pre-Cataract Surgery Measurements

The patient is taken precise indications of their eye to determine the correct size and power of the intraocular lens (IOL) that will be implanted during surgery.

Instructions for Before Cataract Surgery

The person is given specific directives on what to do before the operation, such as when to stop eating and drinking (usually 12 hours before surgery) and what medications to take or avoid.


Cataract surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia, which numbs the eye and the surrounding area. In some cases, the ophthalmologist discusses the options with the patient and determines which is best for their needs.

After the Surgery

The patient may need someone to drive them home after the surgery and to help them with daily activities for a few days. It is also important to arrange follow-up appointments with the eye doctor.

Patients should follow all pre-op instructions provided by their doctor to ensure that the cataract treatment is successful and complications are minimized. If you have any questions or concerns about preparing for the cataract procedure, be sure to discuss them with your surgeon.

How is Cataract Surgery Performed?

Surgical treatment for cataract is usually performed as an outpatient basis and typically takes less than an hour to complete. Here are the general steps involved in the cataract surgery process:

Before surgery, patients receive a local anesthetic to numb their eyes and the surroundings. The person is awake during the procedure, but does not feel any pain.

  • The surgeon makes a small incision in the cornea, the clear outer covering of the eye.
  • A circular opening is made in the front portion of the capsule surrounding the cloudy lens.
  • The surgeon uses a special instrument, such as ultrasound or laser, to break up and remove the cloudy lens from the patient’s eye.
  • The IOL, a clear plastic or silicone lens, is then placed in the same location where the natural lens was removed.
  • The incision in the cornea is generally self-sealing and does not require stitches.

After the procedure, patients are taken to a recovery room where they are monitored for a short period of time. The doctor gives them special instructions for post-op, such as how to care for their eyes and when they can resume normal activities.


Cataracts worsen over time, and without surgery, your vision may become progressively worse, causing difficulty with everyday activities such as driving, reading or TV. In some cases, untreated cataracts can lead to blindness. However, the decision to have cataract surgery is ultimately yours. Your doctor can help you weigh the risks and benefits of the procedure.

No, cataracts cannot return after surgery because the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. However, some patients may experience what is called posterior capsule opacification, which can cause blurry vision and can be treated with a quick, painless laser procedure.

Your doctor will give you specific instructions for aftercare, including when you can resume your normal activities. In general, you should avoid heavy activities and avoid getting water in your eye for a few weeks after surgery.

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