Phacoemulsification surgery for cataracts

Phacoemulsification surgery for cataracts

How a cataract looks

A normal lens compared to a lens clouded by a cataract
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slide 1 of 8, How a cataract looks,

In a normal eye, the lens—which lies behind the pupil—is clear (transparent), so the pupil appears black. In an eye with a cataract, the pupil may look gray. This is because the natural lens has become cloudy, which may affect vision.

Close-up of a cataract

An eye lens clouded by a cataract (close-up)
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slide 2 of 8, Close-up of a cataract,

The cornea is the clear layer that covers the front of the eye. The lens is contained inside the eye's lens capsule. A cataract is a partial or complete cloudiness in the lens.

Incision for surgical instrument is made

Incisions and opening created to begin cataract surgery
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slide 3 of 8, Incision for surgical instrument is made,

A small cut (incision) is made in the eye so a small instrument (phaco probe) can reach the cataract.

Lens is broken up and removed

Cataract being broken up using ultrasound and removed using suction
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slide 4 of 8, Lens is broken up and removed,

The probe uses sound waves (ultrasound) to break the cataract into small pieces. Then the surgeon uses suction to remove the cataract from the eye.

Intraocular lens (IOL)

An intraocular lens (IOL)
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slide 5 of 8, Intraocular lens (IOL),

A variety of artificial lenses (intraocular lenses or IOLs) are available to replace your natural lens. Your doctor can help you choose the type that may work best for you.

A lens replacement (IOL) is inserted

An intraocular lens being placed during cataract surgery
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slide 6 of 8, A lens replacement (IOL) is inserted,

After the cataract is removed, an intraocular lens (IOL) may be placed inside the lens capsule. The back of the lens capsule (posterior capsule) keeps the IOL in place.

Intraocular lens in place

An intraocular lens in place after cataract surgery
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slide 7 of 8, Intraocular lens in place,

The intraocular lens (IOL) takes the place of the eye's natural lens. The incision does not usually require stitches.

Before and after cataract surgery

How the eye looks before and after cataract surgery
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slide 8 of 8, Before and after cataract surgery,

Before cataract surgery, the cloudy lens can be seen through the pupil. After cataract surgery, the pupil appears black because the intraocular lens is clear.

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