Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. This means you likely do not have to stay overnight at a hospital. The surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist. This is a medical doctor who specializes in eye diseases and eye surgery.
Adults are usually awake for the procedure. Numbing medicine (local anesthesia) is given using eyedrops or a shot. This blocks pain. You will also get medicine to help you relax. Children usually receive general anesthesia. This is medicine that puts them into a deep sleep so that they are unable to feel pain.
The doctor uses a special microscope to view the eye. A small cut (incision) is made in the eye.
The lens is removed in one of the following ways, depending on the type of cataract:
- Phacoemulsification: With this procedure, the doctor uses a tool that produces sound waves to break up the cataract into small pieces. The pieces are then suctioned out. This procedure uses a very small incision.
- Extracapsular extraction: The doctor uses a small tool to remove the cataract in mostly one piece. This procedure uses a larger incision.
- Laser surgery: The doctor guides a machine that uses laser energy to make the incisions and soften the cataract. The rest of the surgery is much like phacoemulsification. Using the laser instead of a knife (scalpel) may speed recovery and be more accurate.
After the cataract is removed, a manmade lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL), is usually placed into the eye to restore the focusing power of the old lens (cataract). It helps improve your vision.
The doctor may close the incision with very small stitches. Usually, a self-sealing (sutureless) method is used. If you have stitches, they may need to be removed later.
The surgery lasts less than half an hour. Most times, just one eye is done. If you have cataracts in both eyes, your doctor may suggest waiting at least 1 to 2 weeks between each surgery.
Cataract Treatment: Is Surgery The Only Answer?
Reviewed by Vance Thompson, MD
At this time — and for the foreseeable future — cataract surgery is the only viable treatment for cataracts.
Though some evidence suggests a healthy diet may help prevent cataracts, making healthful dietary or lifestyle changes will not reverse cataracts once they are present.
Researchers are investigating whether it is possible to develop eye drops that can prevent or cure cataracts, but these studies are in very early stages. It is impossible to predict when such a treatment might be available and whether it will be as effective as cataract surgery to restore vision.
In addition to restoring vision that has been lost due to cataracts, cataract surgery can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism with the intraocular lens (IOL) that is implanted in the eye after the cataract is removed.
This means that in addition to restoring clear vision, modern cataract surgery can also reduce your need for eyeglasses or contact lenses after the procedure.
There even are multifocal IOLs and accommodating IOLs that can be used during cataract surgery to treat the normal age-related loss of near vision called presbyopia and thereby reduce your need for reading glasses.
Page updated August 2017
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Reviewer – Vance Thompson
Vance Thompson, MD, FACS, is the director of refractive surgery at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, S.D. He also is professor of ophthalmology at the Sanford USD School of Medicine, … read more
Non-surgical treatment for cataracts inches closer
Scientists in the US and China have provided tantalising evidence of the potential for an eye drop treatment for cataracts, which could advance to clinical trials in as little as a year.
The research, published in the journal Nature, shows that treating cataractous lenses with lanosterol, a molecular building block of steroids, was found to reduce the cloudy protein build up in the tissue. The findings identify the molecule as a key component in cataract formation and highlight its potential as a non-surgical treatment.
Led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), the team sequenced the DNA of a number of children with congenital cataracts, finding that mutations in genes related to the production of lanosterol.
Additional experiments with modified cells unable to produce the molecule resulted in misfolded proteins and aggregates, like those in cataracts.
Using cataractous lenses taken from rabbits, the team found that incubating the lens with lanosterol solution for a number of days reduced the opacity of the tissue. Lanosterol eye drops were also found to increase clarity of the lens in dogs with age-related cataracts.
Cataracts are estimated to be responsible for more than half of all blindness in the world, affecting 20 million people, with surgical removal of the lens the only treatment. While a class of crystallin proteins are known to play a role in cataracts through the formation of clumps, or aggregates, the exact mechanism remains unclear.
The production of lanosterol is itself a key step in the synthesis of cholesterol, steroid hormones and vitamin D. The researchers suggest that the molecule may penetrate the protein clumps, enabling them to become water soluble.
Professor Kang Zhang, from UCSD, told Nature: “Our study is the first one to show that lanosterol and related compounds may be a new class of drugs that is evolving; dissolving protein aggregates and then treating misfolded protein complexes, restoring lens clarity and preventing cataract formation.”
He added: “Since lanosterol is a molecule produced by…our own body, the toxicity issue of a drug will be minimal, if any. So I anticipate that we will be going to clinical trials for treating cataract within a year.”
Professor Zhang confirmed that there are also experiments to see if the molecule could be used to treat other conditions involving protein aggregates, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Image credit: Amar and Isabelle Guillen – Guillen Photo LLC / Alamy
Close up shot of woman eye looking at camera
It’s good news… Eye surgery is no longer the only option available if you suffer from conditions such as cataracts, or blurred vision.
Can-C™ eye-drops give the opportunity to take control of various eye conditions. Helping to turn back the hands of time on what was once thought of as just being part and parcel of growing old, but can now in many cases be treated effectively, without the need for any invasive procedures at all.
Thanks to remarkable Russian research, Can-C™ eye-drops offer a genuine alternative to surgery. Now, cataracts can be treated simply by the daily use of eye-drops. Specifically designed for the treatment of senile cataracts and using a unique, patented formula containing the active and natural ingredient N-acetylcarnosine. Can-C™ eye-drops gently but effectively can slow, halt and even reverse the progress of cataracts. And the results are evident incredibly quickly. Even after just 1 month of treatment, the effects of Can-C™ eye-drops are clearly visible – breaking down the impaired proteins in the crystalline of the lens that cause the cataracts.
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness and accounts for about 42% of all such cases worldwide. More than 17 million people around the world are blind because of cataract and an alarmingly, 28,000 new cases are reported every day. Chronic, age-related visual problems such as cataract, macular degeneration and glaucoma have one basic similarity. These are degenerative conditions caused by excessive oxidation (free radical damage- free radicals are toxic by-products of your everyday metabolism).
With aging, the production of these free radicals increases, whereas the body defences against them become less effective. Free radicals destroy proteins, enzymes and DNA causing chronic damage to tissues. A related process known as glycation is also strongly implicated; this process which conveniently abbreviates to AGE (advanced glycated end-products) is one where oxygen and glucose impair protein by cross-linking them.
Can-C™ is the original N-acetylcarnosine (NAC) eye-drop formula. The drops have been commercially sold since 2001 and in that time has helped many thousands of people treat their senile cataracts without the need for surgery. In fact, it is estimated that there have now been more than 50,000 documented patient cases of Can-C™ use.
With Can-C™, you get to keep your natural lens
Vision may be the most precious of our five senses. Yet most of us take it for granted until it begins to deteriorate with age. Many thousands of patients using the eye-drops have noticed improvements of their vision, ranging from mild improvement to complete resolution of the condition. According to the manufacturers of Can-C™ lubricant eye-drops, with over half a million bottles sold worldwide. This means that many people have retained their natural lens and not needed to have it replaced by a plastic one. It should be obvious that a plastic lens does not have the optic accommodation and capacity of a natural one.
Vision is precious. Pictures are worth a thousand words
So many times we hear people say, “My eyes aren’t what they used to be.” The simple fact is… they most probably aren’t. But that’s life, we get older and our bodies change. However, you don’t have to sit back and give up hope for improved vision.
The cataract eye-drop treatment is a proven and scientific one and based on clinical experience
If you are frustrated with your eyesight, ask yourself these questions:
- Are my eyes sensitive to light; or do I get cloudiness in parts of my vision?
- Which problem do I deal with first? My difficulty driving at night, the overwhelming glare or my increased near sightedness?
- When did this start happening to me? Is it stable or getting worse?
- Why is this happening to me?
You could be the fittest person in the neighbourhood but your eyes may tell a different story.
Everyone has their story. As we talk to customers all the time, they ask questions and we help to provide the answers.
- Can Can-C™ be taken in conjunction with other common eye supplements such as lutein and zeaxanthin / astaxanthin?
We do not recommend that the Can-C™ eye-drops are combined with lutein (unless a patient has a cataract associated with a retinal disorder), this is because lutein appears to interfere with the same receptor sites as NAC and may lower the efficacy of the eye-drops. You should stop taking lutein for at least the first 6 months but after this period they may be started again. This is because Can-C™ does the majority of its restorative work in that period and thereafter it is maintenance, thus a reduced efficacy is not so essential. The same is true for zeaxanthin; however we are not aware of contraindications with astaxanthin.
- How long has Can-C™ been available?
Can-C has been sold since 2001 and in that time has helped thousands of people treat their senile cataracts without surgery.
- Are there any problems using Can-C™ concurrently with other eye-drops for glaucoma pressure control? Would you recommend use of both?
To date, there have been no noted contraindications or side effects noted with the use of other eye-drops combined with Can-C™, but naturally, as there are so many versions, not all eye-drops have been tested along with the same. Dr. Mark Babizhayev (the inventor of the technology) has stated that beta blocker eye-drops used for glaucoma may actually have additional benefit when combined with Can-C™ to help further reduce the intraocular pressure.
Look to your future with clearer vision
The statistics in the human trials for Can-C™ show that N-acetylcarnosine eye-drops applied for 6-months twice daily into the eye, in patients, all suffering from senile cataract, had the following results:
- 88.9% had an improvement in glare sensitivity.
- 41.5% had an improvement of the transmissivity of the lens.
- 90% had an improvement in visual acuity.
Note: You can also maximise the benefit of using Can-C™ eye drops by taking Can-C™ Plus capsules. They are especially recommended in difficult cases, or for ripe cataracts (cataracts that have existed for a long time). So those who have very dense cataract and severely diminished vision to start with should combine the capsules with the eye-drops from day one.
The Can-C™ products can assist with lots of other eye conditions, such as:
- Dry eye syndrome
- Contact lens comfort (both as a lubricant and also because they block the painful accumulation of lactic acid which is caused by the contact lens rubbing onto the eye).
- Corneal disorders
- Computer vision syndrome
- Eye strain
- Ocular inflammation
- Blurred vision
- Retinal issues
- Vitreous opacities and lesions
- Complications of diabetes mellitus and other systemic diseases
- Open-angle primary glaucoma
Can-C™ is a non-surgical cataract treatment. No risk, no large medical bills and no time off work! The reasons you should look after your eyes are many, especially when you consider the potential risks involved with surgery.
Short term cataract surgery complications
Cataract surgery may be the most performed surgical procedure in the world, but it is not without its problems and complications – for example, 24 hours after surgery the following can occur:
- Bleeding – inside the back of the eye and inside the front of the eye where the actual surgery is being performed.
- Bruise or ‘black eye’– if it was necessary to use an injection around your eye you may experience some temporary bruising.
- Wound or incision leak – sometimes the corneal incision does not seal properly and may leak.
- Endophthalmitis or ‘inner eye infection’– an infection after cataract surgery is rare but can occur.
- Rupture of the posterior capsule – during cataract surgery, the cloudy or opacified lens material is ‘chopped up’ and suctioned to remove it from the eye. Occasionally it is possible that the posterior lens capsule will tear or rupture during surgery.
- Retinal detachment – if you are extremely near-sighted you may be at greater risk for retinal detachment in general and especially when you have any type of eye surgery including cataract surgery.
- Glaucoma – in general, secondary Glaucoma after cataract surgery is very unusual. However, if there is other bleeding or inflammation it can predispose the development of secondary Glaucoma.
- Significant astigmatism – in the event that it was necessary to use sutures or stitches- because the corneal incision did not seal properly, it is possible to distort the shape of the cornea and induce astigmatism.
- Long term cataract surgery complications
Long term cataract surgery problems and complications are those that we will define as occurring from one week to as long as six months after cataract surgery.
- Decentered or dislocated intraocular lens implant (IOL) – the artificial lens implant (IOL) used to correct your vision after cataract surgery can move slightly becoming decentered or move a greater amount and become dislocated.
- Cystoid macular edema – during the first three months or so after cataract surgery it is possible for the macula, the visual center of the retina, to be susceptible to microscopic swelling.
- Secondary or after cataract – the most common complication of cataract surgery is opacification of the posterior lens capsule resulting in the formation of a secondary cataract, which occurs after as many as 30% of cataract surgery procedures. When this occurs you will experience a gradual blurring of your vision. Here, the surgeon uses a YAG laser to perform a procedure called a YAG laser capsulotomy in which a small opening is created in the cloudy membrane.
This is just an overview of the possible complications of cataract surgery. Of course, none of the information provided here is meant to be a substitute or replace your physician’s consultation nor does it replace the need for you to consult with your surgeon about specific details of cataract surgery complications.
Knowledge is power
“Life begins at 40 – but so do fallen arches, rheumatism, faulty eyesight, and the tendency to tell a story to the same person, three or four times.” (Helen Rowland)
Additional reading on this topic
Dr. Mark Babizhayev is one of the principal Russian researchers behind the development and use of N-acetylcarnosine or NAC eye-drops. In his interview, he discusses with Phil from International Anti-Aging Systems (IAS) some of the results of his research.