This image is that of an IOL implant lens that has been placed before the iris and pupil. This will have been done for a specific reason during the operation whereby the surgeon felt that placing the lens behind the eye would not have been successful or would cause further complications. It serves to illustrate the shape and size of the modern implants used in these operations.
Cataract surgery is a relatively simple procedure which normally takes about 15-20 minutes. It may take longer for complicated cases. The operation is done under local anaesthesia and in certain circumstances such as a physical or health complications, it can be done under general anaesthesia. This will all be determined prior to the date of the surgery where biotmetric measurements and general health assessments will be conducted at the hospital.
Before the surgery, a number of drops will be instilled to the eye: a dilating drop to enlarge the pupil, an anaesthetic to numb the eye and an antibiotic to prevent infections. The most common procedure done is called phacoemulsification. A small self-healing incision is made on the edge of the cornea. A small probe with a high ultrasound frequency is inserted into the incision, which then emulsifies or breaks up the cataract lens. The probe is then removed and another probe is used to vacuum and suck up the lens fragments, leaving an empty capsular bag behind. A folded up intraocular lens (IOL) is then implanted using a special injection probe and unfolds into the natural position of the previous lens. In the vast majoriy of cases no stiches are needed after the procedure and the vision is instantey better following the surgery.
Although steps are taken to calculate the implant lens power to be correct for your eye, there are inherent errors within the calculations. This means that glasses are still needed after the surgery, at least for reading vision, although the distance vision can improve significantly without glasses. However, they may still be needed for driving and TV, etc.
Cataract surgery currently is the most performed surgical intervention in the world. The procedures are very well researched and managed and complications occur in overall less than 2% of cases. It is a highly successful operation, however, as with all surgery complications are possible. The majority of these complications are minor and easily dealt with but more serious and rarer conditions can occur.
We currently perform post-operative aftercare appointments for the Fylde Coast Cataract Service. Any concerns we have will be brought to the attention of the hospital eye service automatically, however, if you are at all concerned following your cataract surgery please fee free to contact us for advice, or alternatively you can contact the place of surgery.
If you are at all concerned please contact the practice so that one of our Optometrists can advise you of the best course of action. See the section on Emergency Eyecare for more information on how we can help.