Cataract Surgery Steps and Options
Your vision. Your life.
You have two important decisions to make when it comes to your cataract surgery: how your new lens is implanted and what type of lens is implanted.
Cataract surgery is usually quick (about 15 minutes) and typically done as an outpatient procedure. You’ll be given a local anesthetic in the form of drops to numb your eye, and will be fully awake the whole time. If you feel any discomfort or pain during cataract surgery, be sure to let your doctor know.
Laser-assisted or manual cataract surgery?
Your doctor can either access your cataract manually or with laser-assisted surgery. Manual surgery is planned with measurements of your eye and incisions are made with a blade. Laser assisted surgery delivers a personalized, precise, and gentle approach in which a laser scans your eye to create a unique 3D blueprint and incisions are made with a laser.
During the procedure, you are awake and will be administered local anesthetic eye drops so you are more comfortable during the procedure. Regardless of the type of cataract surgery, there are three simple steps:
Access your natural lens
During this step, your doctor makes a tiny incision in your cornea and capsule of your eye lens to access your natural lens. In manual surgery, your doctor makes this incision using a handheld device. In laser-assisted surgery this is performed using a pre-programmed laser which creates a precise opening in the cornea.
Removal of cataracts
During this step, your doctor will remove the cataract. In manual cataract surgery, your doctor prepares your clouded lens using a handheld tool and suctions the cataract out to remove it. In laser-assisted surgery, the laser gently softens your affected lens and precisely cuts it down into small pieces that are suctioned from your eye.
In the last step, your new lens will be implanted into your eye to provide you with clear, cataract-free vision. Your doctor inserts a soft, rolled-up lens into your eye that gently and slowly opens. Once surgery is complete, the staff will escort you to the recovery room where they will help you prepare to go home. Your doctor may place a protective eye shield or an eye patch to cover your eye. Arrange for a family member or caregiver to take you home after your surgery.
After your cataract surgery, most often you can resume your low-impact routine activities, with the exception of driving, after 24 hours. Ask your doctor when you can continue with your routine activities such as golfing, gardening, driving, traveling, or reading.
Understanding laser cataract surgery steps and differences
What to expect on surgery day