Cataract operations are the most common treatment for cataracts. The majority of people gain some form of cataracts after they reach the age of 60. As a result, the surgery is becoming more common every year, especially as the baby boomer generation reaches the 60 year barrier. This condition, cataracts, is caused by a clouding of the lens that lies behind the iris in the eye. As one ages, that lens naturally deteriorates which results in a clouding of the eye. Often, this effect is so gradual that the sufferer is not even aware that they have cataracts until their next eye exam. Fortunately, there are some surgical operations to correct this issue when it does arise.
The most common cataract eye operation is called phacoemulsification. With this type of procedure, the surgeon uses an ultrasound probe, which he will insert with a microscopic incision to the eye, which will break up the cataract ridden lens underneath the iris. Once the lens has been emulsified, or broken up by the ultrasonic vibrations created by the probe, the surgeon will suction out the small remaining pieces. When all of the pieces of the faulty lens have been removed, the surgeon will replace them with an intraocular lens intended to correct the vision loss experienced from the faulty lens. The intraocular lens should sit in the exact capsular bag that contained the faulty clouded lens. This procedure has become the most popular because it only requires minimal anesthesia (eye numbing drops), does not require an eye patch after surgery, and rarely takes longer than thirty minutes to complete.
The two other commonly found forms of cataract surgery are extracapsular and intracapsular cataract surgery. The extracapsular cataract surgery is somewhat outdated and rarely used in instances in which the phacoemulsification surgery can be done instead. Some places do not have the technology for the phacoemulsification or the lens of the eye is too dense to be broken up by the ultrasonic probe, which requires this type of surgery as an alternative. This type of cataracts operation requires a larger incision with the surgeon removing the cataract lens in one piece. He then replaces the lens with the intraocular lens just as he would with the phacoemulsification surgery. This cataracts operation requires that one wear an eye patch and receive more extensive anesthesia as well. The intracapsular form is much like the extracapsular except that the lens is placed on top of the iris after the cataract lens is removed. This is the preferred cataract eye operation for trauma victims as it does not require the original capsular bag.
Cataract operations have become so common place in this day and age that one should feel comfortable in the hands of any good eye surgeon.