Cataracts are a very common cause of vision loss, and occur when the lens becomes clouded.
Cataract surgery works by removing a damaged lens that has become cloudy, and replacing it with an artificial lens in order to properly restore vision. The artificial lens is called an intraocular lens, and helps to bring back clear vision.
In most cases, the surgery is performed with the use of a special ultrasound device that works by breaking up the damaged, cloudy lens into tiny fragments. The fragments are then gently suctioned out of the eye. When all of the lens pieces have been removed, the ophthalmologist will place the artificial lens into the eye in the same position that the natural lens occupied. Once the intraocular lens has been inserted and secured in place, the incisions in the eye are sealed. It is usually necessary to wear a patch or eye shield for a day after the surgery. The ophthalmologist may also prescribe eye drops to prevent infection after the procedure.
Cataract surgery is sometimes combined with vitrectomy surgery when the cataract obscures the surgeon's view into the back of the eye. Once the clear artificial lens is in position, the retinal surgery can be performed with ease.