How is a cataract treated?
The symptoms of early cataract may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.
A cataract needs to be removed only when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV. You and your eye care professional can make this decision together. Once you understand the benefits and risks of surgery, you can make an informed decision about whether cataract surgery is right for you
Sometimes a cataract should be removed even if it does not cause problems with your vision. For example, a cataract should be removed if it prevents examination or treatment of another eye problem, such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.
What are the different types of cataract surgery?
ECCE-Extracapsular Cataract Extraction
Extracapsular cataract extraction is a method of a cataract surgery that involves removing the eye’s natural lens while leaving in place the back of the capsule that holds the lens in place. The procedure requires a much larger incision where the lens and the entire capsule are removed. A modified form of extracapsular cataract extraction is called phacoemulsification and uses an even smaller incision, requiring no sutures at all.
Phacoemulsification, or phaco
A small incision is made on the side of the cornea, the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. Your doctor inserts a tiny probe into the eye. This device emits ultrasound waves that soften and break up the lens so that it can be removed by suction. Most cataract surgery today is done by phacoemulsification, also called “small incision cataract surgery.”
Femto-Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery (Bladeless Cataract Surgery)
Laser-assisted cataract surgery is now available to our cataract patients. This laser technology, called the femtosecond laser, has been used for years in creating the flap for LASIK eye surgery, but now, it is being used in cataract surgery. The femtosecond laser applies laser energy in an extremely short period of time, one trillionth of a second, so no significant heat is generated (therefore, it is a “cool” laser). The laser, guided by an advanced imaging system known as OCT, can create precise incisions, automating steps of cataract surgery that have traditionally been done manually with a surgical blade. The laser can also make corneal incisions to treat astigmatism. The computer-driven incisions are more precise and reproducible than what can be done manually by hand. For some patients, this new technology may make cataract surgery even safer.
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