The lens of the eye is normally transparent. If a cloudy area develops in the lens, it is called a cataract. When the amount of light that passes through the lens is reduced and scattered by the cataract, images are not focused properly on the retina at the back of the eye. The result is that vision becomes increasingly poor.
Removal of a cataract is the most common eye operation and one of the most common surgical procedures performed in Australia. It has a high rate of success due to the modern methods used.
Phacoemulsification is generally used. This involves a sub three millimetre incision at the junction where the cornea meets the sclera. A small ultrasonic probe, which vibrates at high frequencies is inserted to divide the cloudy lens into small pieces which are gently suctioned away from the lens capsule through the incision.
The artificial lens is usually inserted into the lens capsule which resembles an empty pillowcase once the cataract is removed. In some cases, the artificial lens may have to be placed in front of the iris.
The incision is normally so small that it often requires no stitches, or perhaps only one. After surgery, the eye is covered with a shield for protection while antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs are used for three weeks
We would like to acknowledge RANZCO and Mi-tec Medical Publishing for allowing us to use the above information. The complete pamphlet is available from us and will be provided prior to surgery.