We provide professional support in Cataract Surgery.
Cataract Surgery – Phacoemulsification (PHACO)
Our eyeball consists of: cornea, the foremost
transparent layer of the eyeballs; the anterior chamber located behind the
cornea, in which the aqueous humor is found; the iris and the pupil forming the
rear border of the anterior chamber; the lens located in a capsule in the
posterior chamber; the fluid, called vitreous humor, filling the eye globe in
the posterior chamber; and the optic disc, the optic nerve and the retina at
the rearmost part of the eyeballs. The white part seen from the outside of the
eye is called sclera.
The lenses are located behind the iris – the colored
portion of the eyes. The lenses focus the light reaching the eye on the retina
and provide clear and precise images. The lenses may thicken and lose
transparency due to aging and other factors (long-term exposure to sunlight,
diabetes mellitus, obesity, hypertension, skin diseases, medications,
infections, tobacco use, eye traumas). Accordingly, visual accuracy decreases
and blurred vision develops (similar to looking something behind a cloud or
ground glass). This condition of eye lenses is called cataract.
The blurred vision caused by the cataract leads to
poor vision, difficulty in reading and driving, especially at night, in the
daily life. Cataract develops very slowly and the condition causes no
discomfort at early stages, but it may progress even to blindness at the
When you visit an ophthalmologist due to such
complaints, a comprehensive examination of the eye will be sufficient to
diagnose the cataract.
In the examination, your visual accuracy and visual
field will be evaluated and your doctor will determine the extent your vision
is affected. Your doctor may recommend eye glasses and contact lenses to
relieve the problem at early stages of the cataract. Most doctors consider
surgery for the cataract when symptoms start influencing the quality of life.
Although there is no need to rush in most cataract cases, the clinical picture
may progress very quickly in patients with diabetes mellitus. You and your
doctor will have time to determine and discuss benefits and risks of the
Visual symptoms will worsen as the cataract
progresses; however, you and your doctor will have sufficient time to make a
decision, as the cataract surgery can be carried out at any stage and the
condition has no negative influence on the overall health.
Cataract surgery implies the surgical removal of the
native lens and placement of an artificial intraocular lens. The operation is
performed under local anesthesia and it can be carried out at any stage of the
Why is this procedure done?
Since the cataract affects only a minor portion of the
lens at early stage, it may not be recognized or its effect on the activities
of daily living is negligible. However, the below listed symptoms may be faced
as the cataract progresses:
Cataract surgery is carried out to eliminate the
cataract problem. Another purpose of the cataract surgery is to enable the
ophthalmologist to see the posterior portion (optic disc, optic nerve and
retina) of the eye due to opacity caused by the cataract. If the doctor
considers that this region of the eye, called fundus, is involved, your doctor
may recommend cataract surgery to clearly see the fundus.
Therefore, if the cataract causes problems in doing
routine daily activities and it hinders diagnosis and treatment of another eye
problem, cataract surgery can be recommended.
Cataract surgery is a day surgery following a series
of preoperative preparation listed below. Cataract surgery is carried out under
local anesthesia. In other words, you will most possibly be discharged in the
same day after the cataract surgery and you will not need under general
anesthesia before the surgery.
Phacoemulsification is the most commonly preferred
technique for the cataract surgery. Details of the technique are available
The surgery is carried out at outpatient basis or in
other words, you do not need to be hospitalized. Cataract surgery is usually a
safe procedure and possible complications are successfully treated.
The risks that can be faced in cataract surgery are
However, cataract surgery increases the risk of
retinal detachment (detachment of the retina – the rearmost layer of the eye.
Although the risk is low, the vision can be partially or completely lost, if
the surgery fails or complications develop.
Moreover, disorders or complaints of visual accuracy
and visual field may persist after cataract surgery, if the cataract is
accompanied by other diseases that influence the vision.
Although all possible measures that modern medicine
allows are taken to prevent occurrence of risks, it is no means possible to
warrant that the risks will be completely eliminated.
Our specialists will employ all practices to minimize
the risk of complications and our ophthalmologists will preoperatively inform
you about the risks listed above and all other potential complications and will
address all your concerns.
Your ophthalmologist will first evaluate your visual
accuracy and the visual field. At this stage, a comprehensive examination is
made to determine whether the cataract is associated by other eye disorders or
not. Such evaluations aim maximizing the postoperative visual accuracy and
eliminating possible visual field disorders.
Although the cataract surgery is carried out at
outpatient basis, after it is verified that the surgery does not pose risk, you
will be asked to quit smoking, if you are a smoker, and to stop taking certain
medications that increase risk of bleeding. All other prescribed and
over-the-counter medications, herbal products and supplements will also be
questioned and you will be informed to continue or stop taking them.
You may need to use antibiotic eye drops or tablets
before and after the surgery in order to eliminate the risk of postoperative
You will also be instructed to stop eating and
drinking at a particular time before the surgery and you should strictly follow
this instruction in order to undergo the surgery at the scheduled date.
Moreover, it is reasonable to plan discharge,
post-discharge accommodation and travel at this phase in order to manage
postoperative period better.
Surgery and early postoperative period
The major principle of the cataract surgery is to
remove the opaque native lens and to place an artificial lens that is made of
various materials. On the contrary to contact lenses, intraocular lenses do not
require cleaning or care.
Your doctor will determine the intraocular lens that
will provide the best results for your eye condition in the light of the
comprehensive preoperative examinations. Artificial lenses are classified
according to the material they are produced or other specific features, such as
flexible or rigid, foldable and not foldable, ultraviolet filtering and no
You can ask your doctor all details about the
intraocular lens that will be placed in your eye. Moreover, you may also ask
unique advantages and disadvantages of each type of lenses.
The skin around the eye is numbed with local
anesthetic agent and therefore, you will not fall into deep sleep during the
surgery. A sedative agent can be administered to calm down or relax you.
In the cataract surgery, the opaque native lens or an
opaque artificial lens that was previously placed is removed and replaced by a
transparent intraocular lens; the procedure takes less than one hour. The
artificial lens (intraocular lens) is placed to the capsule, where the native
lens is removed, and the artificial lens will permanently stay in your eye.
Recently, phacoemulsification is the most commonly
preferred technique for the cataract surgery. Your ophthalmologist makes a very
small (only several millimeters) incision at the junction of the sclera and the
cornea – the outermost transparent layer. The probe of the phacoemulsification
device is inserted through this incision and advanced to the lens. Anterior
portion of the capsule that surrounds the lens is cut. The phaco probe emits
ultrasound waves to break the opaque lens into small fragments; next, such
fragments are emulsified in order to be suctioned through the probe.
The lens with cataract is suctioned out of the body.
The posterior wall of the capsule is left untouched. The artificial lens is
inserted through the same incision and placed in the capsule and then, it is
centralized in the capsule.
Ophthalmologist required to make larger incisions that
were closed with stitches before phacoemulsification was developed. However,
your doctor may not place a stitch, if deemed possible, after a
When the surgery is completed, your eye is closed with
bandage or a bandage plus an eye shield.
You may feel itching, tenderness and mild discomfort
in the early postoperative period. Such symptoms will spontaneously disappear
without need to a treatment.
Your doctor may ask you to use antibiotics,
anti-inflammatory tablets and eye drops as a precaution. You should closely
follow all advices of your doctor in order to prevent or minimize postoperative
complications, albeit rare.
The bandage or the bandage plus the eye shield is
removed by your doctor in the next day after the surgery.
After the bandage is removed, you will most probably
have far clear and accurate vision. Your visual accuracy will gradually
increase, but it may take several days.
You will be informed in detail about what you need to
do to protect your eye.
You should see your ophthalmologist for follow-up
visits that are scheduled before you are discharged.
If you experience warmth and redness in your incision
line or loss of vision, severe pain, flashes and floaters in your eye, or if
you have a fever or any symptoms that you think are due to surgery after you
are discharged, contact your ophthalmologist immediately.
Cataract surgery provides successful visual outcomes
in most patients.
However, you should visit your ophthalmologist at pre-scheduled dates in
order to have your recovery monitored and possible complications managed.