Nonsurgical Treatment of Cataract
There is no known medical therapy that can prevent cataract formation from occurring. At
times dilating drops and the fitting of new glasses can be of help temporarily but eventually
cataract surgery will need to be done to restore visual function.
Surgical Treatment of Cataract
Cataract surgery consists of removing the clouded lens of the eye and in most cases replacing it with
an artificial intraocular lens implant. By using a lens implant the need for contact lenses or thick
cataract spectacles will not be needed to restore vision after cataract surgery. In many cases the
lens implant power can be chosen to eliminate large refractive errors of farsightedness or
nearsightedness. In most cases, cataract surgery will be done as an outpatient and an overnight stay
in the hospital is not required. Cataract surgery is done most often with local anesthesia, consisting
of an injection around the eye. It is rare to be "put to sleep" with a general anesthetic for cataract
surgery. Recent development in surgical techniques will allow the operation to be performed with only
eye drops for anesthesia and pain control, making the operation much safer. You can ask your eye doctor
about this new procedure.
The surgical procedure consists of making a small incision into the eye and then opening the capsular
membrane that covers the lens of the eye.
After the capsular bag is opened then the cataract is removed. This is frequently done by a procedure
called phacoemulsification. After the cataract is removed a lens implant is placed inside the eye.
It is usually placed behind the iris into the capsular bag at the same location where the natural lens
of the eye was located. In rare instances it may be placed in front of the iris.
After the surgery the eye will then have a shield placed over it and it is recommended that activity
be reduced for a few days after surgery.