Leonard E. Cortelli, Jr., MD


Cataracts 101

What Is Cataract Surgery?

A cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that is used to restore vision loss caused by cataracts. A cataract is a painless, cloudy area that forms on your eye’s natural lens, usually due to aging. The lens itself is enclosed in a lining called a lens capsule, so when cataract surgery is performed and the natural lens is removed, it is usually replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant or IOL for short. 

How Is Cataract Surgery Performed?

When you receive cataract surgery, the cloudy, natural lens of your eye will be removed and be replaced with an artificial lens (IOL). Your vision will be restored, and you will be cataract free. Here is generally how the surgery is performed.

Your eye will be numbed with local anesthesia. You will remain awake during the procedure, but you won’t be able to see what the surgeon is doing. If you have anxiety, sedation can be requested.
A small incision will be made along the side of your cornea. This can be done manually by hand or with a laser.
The surgeon will use a high-frequency ultrasonic probe to break up the cloudy lens into smaller fragments. A laser can also be used to soften up the cataract.
Suction will be used to gently remove the lens fragments.
An artificial lens (intraocular lens) will be inserted into the eye, securely behind your pupil and iris. It will be placed into the same location as where your natural lens was.
In most cases, no sutures are required and the wound will heal on its own.
You will be given a protective shield to wear over the eye during the initial stages of your recovery.

 It takes approximately 30-minutes for the procedure to be completed on average.

Rosalina D. Williamson