Today, cataract removal is performed as an outpatient procedure, usually using topical anesthesia (numbing drops and gel). An anesthesiologist will provide sedation, so you will be comfortable and feel no pain. Typically, your arrival time at the Washington Outpatient Surgery Center will be an hour and a half prior to the procedure, and you will be allowed to leave after a short period of observation following your cataract removal. The procedure itself usually takes about 15 minutes.
To remove your cataract (the clouded natural lens), Dr. Andersen or Dr. Ray will use a technique called phacoemulsification (phaco). Your surgeon will make a tiny 1/8-inch incision and insert a small phaco tip. The tip will break apart the clouded lens in the removal process. Next, an intra-ocular lens implant (IOL) will be inserted through the same tiny incision into the natural lens capsule of your eye. Because this procedure is performed through an incision that is very small, your eye will be able to heal rapidly with little or no discomfort.
Vision is restored rapidly in most cases; however, vision usually continues to improve in the weeks following the procedure. This is especially true with the advanced premium lens implants.