Types of Cataract Surgery
There are different types of cataract surgery and procedure depends on the availability of the technology, as well as the cost.
Phacoemulsification or Phaco
A small cut or incision is made on the side of the cornea, the clear layer in front of the eye. The doctor inserts a tiny device into the cut that would emit ultrasound waves that would soften and break the affected lens so that it can be removed by suction. This procedure is then immediately followed by inserting the IOL in the lens capsule, which is the sac that holds the lens in place.
Compared to phaco, extracapsular surgery involves cutting a larger incision on the side of the cornea. The hardened lens is removed in one piece before an IOL is inserted in the lens capsule.
Laser-assisted Cataract Surgery
A device is placed over the eye to gather information about the lens. Information from the device tells the laser the depth, size, and exact location of the cut. The surgeon may also use power from the laser to soften the cataract. Routine phacoemulsification then follows by inserting an ultrasound device to further soften and break the lens prior to being suctioned out. The procedure is then followed by inserting the artificial lens.
Types of IOL
The intraocular lens (IOL) is the artificial lens that is inserted into the lens capsule once the old hardened lens is removed. The type of IOL used depends on the availability and the patients’ needs. The doctor would usually discuss the advantages and drawbacks as well as the lifestyle adjustment of each option.
Fixed-focus monofocal lenses
This type helps with distance vision. Patients with this IOL will need the help of glasses when reading or looking at near objects.
Accommodating monofocal lenses
These lenses can shift from near to far vision in response to movement from the ciliary body. This type of lens is ideal for far and middle vision. But some patients might still have to use glasses for reading.