Over the years, cataract surgery has improved greatly due to significant advances in techniques and technology. Apple Hill Eye Center’s Dr. Steven Olkowski is one of York’s leading cataract surgeons. The surgery is a relatively quick and painless outpatient surgery, requiring just a few hours at an ambulatory/outpatient surgical center. Post-surgery recovery time has been dramatically reduced. Many people enjoy improved vision with minimal dependence upon corrective eyewear as a result of modern cataract surgery
Cataract surgery is a delicate operation performed using a high-powered microscope that allows the surgeon to view the parts of the eye clearly. Dr. Olkowski has advanced training in cataract surgery. The steps of the microsurgery are as follows.
1. Tiny incision
The surgeon makes a tiny incision on the side of the cornea - the front part of the eye.
2. Small opening
The surgeon makes a small opening in the front of the capsule that holds the natural lens.
The surgeon inserts a small ultrasound device (phacoemulsification tip) that is used to remove the cataract. By use of the ultrasound, the probe breaks up the cataract, allowing it to be gently vacuumed from the eye.
4. Lens implant
Using soft material that can be folded, a foldable artificial lens implant can be inserted inside the eye through the original surgical incision.
5. Lens unfolds
The lens unfolds to fill the capsule just like the natural lens of the eye had done prior to surgery.
What about Foldable Artificial Lens Implants?
Because cataract surgery removes the cloudy, natural lens of the eye, another means is needed to bring light into proper focus upon the back of the eye (the retina). In the past, vision was corrected using thick cataract glasses or contact lenses. Now, tiny artificial lenses (intraocular lenses) can be placed inside the eye to clear vision following surgery. Through careful examination prior to surgery, your doctor may be able to select a lens power to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness, reducing your dependence upon corrective eyewear after surgery.
What is the Necessary Anesthesia?
Cataract surgery is a pain-free experience due to advances in anesthesia. Patients are awake during surgery and are able to resume normal activities shortly afterwards. There are two types of anesthesia used during surgery—eyedrops or regional.
Eyedrop anesthesia uses no needles or injections. An anesthetic in the form of eyedrops is applied to completely numb the surface of the eye. Patients may sense pressure, but will feel no pain. This anesthesia allows patients to enjoy functional vision almost immediately after surgery.
Regional anesthesia is administered through an injection given gently near the eye, blocking all feeling in the eye region. The injection is usually given while the patient is momentarily under the effect of a sedating medication. Regional anesthesia gradually wears off over the course of the day. As the anesthesia wears off, the function of the eye is restored.
Each form of anesthesia has its advantages. The doctors at Apple Hill Eye Center will consider your individual needs and select the form of anesthesia that is best for you.
What are the Benefits of Cataract Surgery?
Benefits: improved color vision
Cataract surgery offers a dramatic restoration of clear vision. It is one of a few medical procedures that can literally turn back the hands of time and allow many patients to achieve vision comparable to the eyesight they enjoyed in their youth. Specific benefits include the following.
Improved color vision
Once the cataract is removed, colors will be much more vivid and vibrant.
Improved clarity of vision
Visual acuity is usually improved. Activities such as reading and watching television can be enjoyed thanks to sharper, clearer vision.
After surgery, many patients’ eyesight is improved to the point that they can regain their driver’s licenses.
Improved quality of life
When vision is improved, patients begin enjoying their work, hobbies, family and friends again.
Reduced dependence on corrective eyewear
The foldable artificial lens implant may be able to compensate for pre-existing focusing problems such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. Glasses may be needed for reading or driving. If glasses are required to be worn at all times, the lenses are usually much thinner and lighter.
What are the Risks of Cataract Surgery?
No surgery is without risks, but cataract surgery is highly successful due to technological and surgical advances. Few complications are associated with cataract surgery. These potential risks and complications are discussed with the patient prior to surgery.