How Are Cataracts Surgically Removed?

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Cataracts are the clouding of the lens in the eye. Once this clouding interferes with your vision, it is necessary to remove the cataract. Cataract surgery is the most frequent procedure performed in the United States. (See Ref. 1)

Methods

There are two methods of cataract surgery used: small incision and large incision. The small incision method involves a tiny incision while the large incision method, which is no longer widely used, involves a larger incision and requires sutures to close. (See Ref. 2)

Lens Removal

The lens is removed through an incision made in the outer shell of the eye called the cornea. The lens is either broken into pieces and removed or taken out in its entirety. (See Ref. 1)

The Posterior Capsule

The posterior capsule is the membrane that surrounds the lens. This membrane is usually left in place to accommodate the new lens, but is sometimes removed to prevent the membrane itself from becoming cloudy and interfering with vision. (See Ref. 1)

Secondary Cataracts

If the posterior capsule or any remaining fragments of the lens become cloudy and interfere with vision, this is referred to as a secondary cataract. (See Ref. 1)

Lasers

Lasers are sometimes used to assist in cataract removal. The use of lasers to remove cataracts is still in development and not as widely used as non-laser surgeries. (See Ref. 1)

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