Phacoemulsification is a surgical method of removing a cataract (cloudiness of the natural lens) from the eye. A cataract forms in the lens of the eye and causes the patient to have cloudy vision. In the event that the cataract requires surgical removal, phacoemusificaion is the most common method of removing the cataract from the eye.

During a phacoemulsification cataract surgery, the first step in the procedure is to administer a topical anesthetic or a local anesthetic. The anesthetic helps to prevent the patient from blinking, moving the eye and from having pain during the procedure. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, the doctor makes two tiny incisions in the eye where the cornea (clear front covering of the eye) joins the sclera (white of the eye). The doctor then creates a round opening in the capsule (lens surface). Then, the doctor inserts a phaco probe into the opening in the eye. Ultrasound waves are then used to break the cataract into smaller pieces, which are then removed from the eye using suction. In most cases, the doctor then inserts an intraocular lens implant into the lens capsule. After most surgeries, no stitches are required for the eye to heal.

Once the surgery is complete, the eye is protected with an eye-shield, which is usually worn at night for about a week to prevent any inadvertent trauma to the eye. Before leaving the surgeon’s office, the patient will be given instructions regarding possible complications, eye protection, medicines and required visits. The patient can expect to return to the doctor’s office in 1 to 2 days for a post-operative examination.

The vast majority of patients who undergo phacoemulsification cataract surgery report both improved vision and recovery of sight. If you currently suffer from cataracts, talk to your doctor to find out if phacoemulsification cataract surgery could be right for you.