Cataract surgery is a procedure used to treat cataracts where changes in the lens of the eye cause cloudy, blurry or misty vision. The lens is the crystalline structure that sits just behind your pupil, which is the black circle in the center of your eye. Cataracts occur when changes in the lens of the eye cause it to become less transparent, making it difficult to see clearly.
Cataracts sometimes start to develop in a person’s eye lens as they get older (age-related cataracts), stopping some of the light from reaching the retina. Although cataracts are often associated with age, in rare cases babies are born with cataracts or young children can develop them (childhood cataracts).
Once cataracts have developed and vision is compromised, surgery to remove the clouded lens and replace it with an intraocular lens is the only way to restore vision.
Cataract surgery is a relatively straightforward outpatient procedure performed under local anesthetic, which means you’ll be awake during the procedure and can go home on the same day. During cataract surgery in Seattle, Dr. Leavitt will make a tiny incision in your eye so that the cloudy lens can be removed. After it’s been removed, it is replaced with a small plastic lens called an intraocular lens (IOL).
If you have cataracts in both eyes, you will need two separate surgeries performed a few weeks apart. This gives the first eye time to heal and time for your vision to be restored.
There are two main types of cataract surgery and the timeframe of the procedure depends on which surgery you have.
Phaco Surgery: With phacoemulsification, the most common type of cataract surgery performed in the U.S., the procedure can take as little as 10 minutes.
ECCE Surgery: The extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE) can take longer than phacoemulsification; ECCE usually takes 30 to 45 minutes to complete.
Recovery Time: If there were no complications with the surgery, the patient will remain in recovery for a short amount of time, often 20 to 30 minutes, and then are able to go home.
Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed procedures and has helped restore clear vision to thousands of patients. If you would like to discuss cataract surgery with Dr. Leavitt, contact Bellevue LASIK & Cataract Center at (425) 450-6990 or bellevue-lasik.com to schedule an appointment.