Cataract jargon buster
The lens in your eye sits inside an elastic membrane known as the capsule. In cataract surgery the cloudy lens is removed from the capsule and a new clear lens put in its place.
- Day surgeryOpen
Cataract operations are generally quick and simple nowadays, so you may be asked to arrive at the hospital in the morning and be sent home later the same day. This is known as day surgery.
- Local anaestheticOpen
Many cataract operations are carried out under local anaesthetic. An anaesthetic gel is put in the eye before the operation. You may have a sedative, so you feel relaxed and comfortable during the surgery. Further anaesthetic applied to the eye as needed during surgery will ensure that you won’t feel any pain.
Cataract occurs when the clear lens inside your eye becomes cloudy. To deal with this problem, a small incision is made, the cloudy lens is removed and it is replaced with a new, clear, acrylic or silicone lens known as an implant.
In cataract surgery, an implant is another name for the intraocular lens, or IOL. This is a soft flexible lens made of silicone or acrylic which is used to replace a cloudy lens.
- Intraocular lens (IOL)Open
The intraocular lens, or IOL, is now a soft flexible lens made of silicone or acrylic. It folds and can be slipped into your eye to replace a cloudy lens. Modern IOLs can be single vision lenses, which focus at one distance only, or they can be multifocal or accommodating, allowing you clear vision and distance and near.
An ophthalmologist is a trained doctor who specialises in looking after your eyes.
In modern cataract surgery an ultrasonic device bombards the lens with waves, breaking it down into fragments so it can be easily removed from the eye. This is known as phacoemulsification.
Ultrasound is used in cataract surgery to break the cloudy lens into pieces. The pieces are then liquified and sucked out.