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What happens during cataract surgery?

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You'll be awake for the procedure, but your doctor will numb your eye with medicine, so you won't feel pain. They may also give you medication to help you relax.

The surgery usually takes under an hour. Your surgeon will make a tiny cut in the front of your eye, sometimes with the help of a laser. Through this cut, they'll put in a small tool to break up the cataract and gently suction it out.

Next, they'll put in the new lens, which is made of plastic, silicone, or acrylic, and close the cut.

You won't need to stay overnight at the hospital, but you'll need someone to drive you home. If you have cataracts in both eyes, you'll probably get two separate surgeries, typically a few weeks apart. This gives the first eye a chance to heal.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Ophthalmology: "When Is the Right Time to Have Cataract Surgery?" "Cataract Surgery," "What Is Macular Degeneration?" "How Soon Can YAG Be Done After Cataract Surgery?"

Mayo Clinic: "Cataract Surgery: What You Can Expect."

Digital Journal of Ophthalmology: "The Risks and Benefits of Cataract Surgery."

American Foundation for the Blind/VisionAware: "Our Readers Want To Know: When Should I Have Cataract Surgery?" "What are the Risks of Cataract Surgery?"

National Eye Institute: "Facts About Cataract."

American Optometric Association: "Cataract Surgery."

Vision Australia: "Cataracts."

British Medical Journal: "Cataracts: Should I Have Surgery?"

Royal National Institute of Blind People: "Posterior capsule opacification -- why laser treatment is sometimes needed following cataract surgery."

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky on September 6, 2019

SOURCES:

American Academy of Ophthalmology: "When Is the Right Time to Have Cataract Surgery?" "Cataract Surgery," "What Is Macular Degeneration?" "How Soon Can YAG Be Done After Cataract Surgery?"

Mayo Clinic: "Cataract Surgery: What You Can Expect."

Digital Journal of Ophthalmology: "The Risks and Benefits of Cataract Surgery."

American Foundation for the Blind/VisionAware: "Our Readers Want To Know: When Should I Have Cataract Surgery?" "What are the Risks of Cataract Surgery?"

National Eye Institute: "Facts About Cataract."

American Optometric Association: "Cataract Surgery."

Vision Australia: "Cataracts."

British Medical Journal: "Cataracts: Should I Have Surgery?"

Royal National Institute of Blind People: "Posterior capsule opacification -- why laser treatment is sometimes needed following cataract surgery."

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky on September 6, 2019

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