No Stitch/Self Sealing Cataract Surgery
Ultrasound technology (phacoemulsification or “phaco”) is used to remove a cataract. Ultrasound is used to gently break up or emulsify the cloudy lens into tiny pieces which can be removed from the eye through a small 1/8 inch opening. This opening is created with a self sealing technique that eliminates the need for stitches in most cases.
Once the cataract is removed, the surgeon places an intraocular lens (IOL) into the eye through the same opening, which replaces the optical power of the natural lens and allows you to see clearly. Patients are able to return home within a few hours after the procedure.
The quality of vision immediately after surgery varies depending on how advanced and dense the cataract was. Some patients have cloudy vision initially that begins to clear a few days after surgery while others report improved vision almost immediately.
Once healed, patients may find that their vision is better than ever, although some will need to wear glasses for reading and other activities. Most patients find they are able to return to a normal lifestyle immediately and enjoy doing things poor cataract vision had restricted them from doing in the past. The presence of other unrelated eye disease such as macular degeneration may limit the quality of vision after surgery.
Some patients because of their eye structure, health, or other factors may not be good candidates for the new techniques. In these cases, patients can have traditional surgery and expect to do well. A complete eye examination and consultation is required to determine each individual’s specific needs and potential for improved vision.
Loss of sight from cataracts is usually preventable. With modern technology, cataracts can be removed and good vision restored whenever a person feels that the loss of vision is great enough to interfere with daily activities.
Topical or No Needle Anesthesia
Years ago, cataract surgery was performed under general anesthesia requiring patients to stay in the hospital. Later advances used an injection of local anesthetic near the eye. Although an injection of local anesthetic allows patients to return home the same day and is safer than using general anesthesia, it is not entirely free of risk.
Today, with recent advances in cataract surgery anesthesia, topical (eye drop) anesthetics are used. A patient may be given a sedative to help them relax and keep them comfortable during the procedure.
Advantages of topical anesthesia include:
- No patient anxiety over receiving a deep injection next to the eye.
- Visual recovery begins immediately after surgery.
- Eliminates potential complications such as perforation of the eye, hemorrhage, or damage to the optic nerve.
- Removes the chance for a relatively dangerous anesthesia induced allergic reaction.
- Eliminates the need for an eye patch.
Eye Surgery and Laser Center of WI
The majority of cataract surgery procedures performed by Milwaukee Eye Care surgeons are done at a state-of-the-art out-patient eye surgery center. The nursing staff at the Eye Surgery and Laser Center of WI specializes in eye surgery. When general anesthesia is required, it is administered by anesthesiologists.