Cataracts develop when the lens of one or both eyes becomes cloudy and interferes with the ability to see. This is a fairly common occurrence that can be taken care of with eye surgery. The success rate of cataract surgery is very high, and it can be done as an outpatient procedure, meaning no overnight hospital stay is required. The surgery itself can normally be completed in less than one hour.
Before the doctor begins the surgery, drops will be placed into the eye to dilate the pupil. After the patient has been made comfortable, the doctor can remove the clouded lens. There are times, however, when the cataract can be removed without the need to remove the lens. If the lens is removed, a clear artificial lens that is made of acrylic, plastic or silicone is implanted. The implant is known as an intraocular lens (IOL). It becomes a permanent part of the eye, and the patient will not feel it in the eye.
The doctor may use one of two methods to remove the cataract. In most cases, it will be broken up with ultrasound and the fragments suctioned out. During this method, an ultrasound probe is inserted. The sound waves then break up the cataract and lens into tiny pieces. The very back of the lens is left in place so it will serve as a support for the artificial lens that is to be implanted. This section of the lens is called the lens capsule.
The other, less commonly used method of cataract removal involves the use of surgical tools to remove the lens. This method is normally reserved for individuals who have eye complications that prevent using the ultrasound method.
Some of the lenses are made of a flexible material. If this is the case, the lens can be rolled up before inserting it into the eye.
Any discomfort after surgery can usually be relieved with the use of over-the-counter medicines, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. The vision may be blurry immediately after the procedure, but should clear up after a few days.
To find out more about cataract surgery at Live Oak Ophthalmology, schedule an appointment at our office in Wilmington, NC. Dr. Hester and Dr. Groat are both expert cataract surgeons who will provide you with the best cataract treatment available. Contact us today to book your consultation to learn more information about cataract surgery.