The normal lens of the eye is transparent, with no color or shade. It focuses light onto the inner surface of the eye, the retina, to create an image. As a cataract develops, the lens becomes cloudy and blocks the normal path of light entering the eye. Vision becomes obscured.
Cataract surgery removes the clouded lens and replaces it with an artificial lens — called an implantable intraocular lens (IOL) — which usually restores clear vision. Cataract removal surgery is for people who have vision loss or vision abnormalities caused by cataracts.
New Technology: Intraocular Lens Implants (IOL)
A variety of artificial intraocular lens technology is available for cataract surgery. Based on your situation and surgeon preference, your physician will discuss an IOL recommendation with you. Click on the types below to learn about the various IOL manufacturers and the lens choices they offer.
The ReZoom Multifocal Lens is a clear, foldable implant designed to provide a full range of vision — near, far and intermediate — after cataract treatment. The lens has multifocal zones that provide good vision, no matter the distance or light condition.
Using innovative wavefront lens technology, the Tecnis Lens restores patient's vision to that of a younger person, improving functional vision even in low-light situations such as night driving.
This advanced implantable lens gives you high-quality vision in any light condition from any distance. Tecnis reports that 9 out of 10 patients don't need glasses after the procedure.
AcrySof lenses are the most frequently implanted in the world. The Toric IOL is for patients with cataracts and astigmatism, correcting both conditions simultaneously.
What to expect
Unlike decades ago when cataract surgery required a full operating room suite and an in-hospital stay, today it is done on an outpatient basis, usually painless, low-risk and takes less than an hour. Patients usually stay awake, and the eye is numbed with drops. With the help of a microscope, a small incision is made at the junction of the clear and white outer parts of the eye. Depending on the type of cataract, the lens will be removed either with surgical instruments and suction or with an instrument and machine that uses high frequency sound waves to break up the lens and then suction it out.
An artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is then inserted to help the eye focus. The incision may be closed with fine stitches or will self-seal. Stitches will need to be removed at a later date.
The patient will need to return the next day for a follow up, and complete healing will take about 10 weeks. If both eyes require surgery, then the procedures will be done two to eight weeks apart.
How to prepare
A week before a patient's surgery, the doctor will measure the size and shape of the eye via ultrasound. The doctor may advise patients to stop taking any medication that could increase bleeding during surgery. Antibiotic drops may be given one to two days prior as well, and patients may be advised to not eat or drink for 12 hours before the surgery. Patients will discuss with their doctor the type of artificial lens replacement to be used. Patients will also need to make arrangements for a ride home as well as assistance for the 24 hours following the surgery.