If you have been reading information about cataract surgery, you may have run across the term phacoemulsification. This technique is safe and effective and is the most common cataract surgical technique used by surgeons today, including the best cataract surgeons near Punta Gorda, Florida – Elmquist Eye Group in Fort Myers and Cape Coral.
What does this surgery involve?
The lens of the eye is located behind the iris, which is the colored part of the eye. The lens focuses light on the retina to produce clear images for vision. Under normal circumstances the lens changes shape; this is called accommodation and the lens accommodates small changes needed to adjust your focus.
As people age, proteins and cells break down in the eye and accumulate on the lens which becomes cloudy and rigid, therefore losing its ability to provide this accommodation. As the proteins clump onto the lens, light that would otherwise be focused on the lens becomes scattered. As a result, vision is no longer sharp. Images often appear blurry or yellowed, and colors are not as vivid.
What is phacoemulsification?
Phacoemulsification involves the surgeon creating a small incision in the cornea. This creates an opening to the lens. Then, the surgeon uses a small ultrasound instrument to break up the cataract into small pieces. This instrument vibrates at ultrasonic speed, making the procedure move very quickly. Once the fragments are broken up, the surgeon suctions them out, then replaces the damaged lens with an intraocular lens implant (IOL). The implant lens is positioned where the natural lens would normally be and once in place, heals on its own.
At Elmquist, we perform phacoemulsification in our state-of-the-art surgical facility as an outpatient procedure. There is no hospital stay, and after we monitor you for about an hour, you are free to go home with your designated driver, a friend or family member who has accompanied you to the surgery.
What is recovery time like?
Because the corneal incision is created with a laser, the small incision is self-healing and usually requires no stitches. In fact, it only takes a few days for the incision to completely heal, that is, when patients use our prescribed eye drops as directed. These drops contain antibiotics, steroids, and a anti-inflammatory medications to promote healing, reduce inflammation and prevent infection. For about a week, we ask that you apply these drops several times per day.
Some of our patients do experience significant inflammation following this procedure, and some need the anti-inflammatory drops for up to one month. Most patients only feel slight discomfort after the surgery, but an over-the-counter oral pain reliever like acetaminophen is all that is required to alleviate pain.
When you go home, we will also place a protective shield over your eye, which you will continue to wear at night while sleeping. We also provide you with sunglasses to protect your eyes from sunlight glare.
Most patients are astounded at their immediate improvement in vision. Even better, vision steadily improves over the next few weeks as the eye heals. If you want improved vision, call the best cataract surgeons near Punta Gorda, Florida. The Elmquist Eye Group team is ready for you to be our next cataract patient.