Cataract Eye Surgery

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions faced all over the world and affects about 1 in every 2 individuals above the age of 80 in the United States of America. The condition will originally start to develop around the age of 50 and an initial slight blurring of the vision is observed. The condition is based on degenerative changes in the structure of the eye as well as the hardening of the protein within the lens. The protein starts to clump together and the clumps grow in size over a longer period of time. The most common conditions that affect vision and increase the prominence of a cataract include advancing age, traumatic injury, certain types of medication or even simple hereditary where the condition is passed down from one generation to another within the same bloodline.

Cataract Eye Problems

The problem with cataract is the fact that in spite of it being, quite literally, in the line of sight, the buildup of the condition is so gradual that a person will usually only realize its presence once the condition has matured into one that severely affects the eyesight. Once the cataract has matured, the only treatment option is to have surgery performed in order to remove the solidified protein. During the surgery, this cloudy natural lens is removed and is replaced with a synthetic lens that helps restore the lens’s transparency. Given the sight of operation, anesthesia is essential. This results in the patient feeling absolutley no discomfort while the operation is being performed.

Types of Cataract Surgeries

There are two main types of cataract surgery procedure - phacoemulsification and conventional extracapsular cataract extraction, also known as ECCE. The primary difference between the two versions is the type of lens that the natural lens is replaced with. When the phaco variant of the procedure is performed, the lens used is foldable while the ECCE version employs the non - foldable version of the lens.


Some of the other vast differences between the two cataract eye surgery procedures include the kind of equipment used as well as the types of cataracts that they are chosen for. For example, the phaco version of surgery is the more commonly used one and employs the use of a machine that has an ultrasonic handpieice. This features a titanium steel or tip. When activated, the tip will vibrate at an ultrasonic frequency of 40,000 Hz and the material present within the lens is emulsified. The ECCE version will require an incision to be made in the cornea or sclera. As with any type of surgery, complications are always likely to take place and there is always the risk of infection or bleeding.