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Over half of adults age 65 years and older in the United States are affected by cataracts. This painless clouding of the natural lens can cause blurriness, increased glare and a diminished ability to see colors. When cataracts progress to the point of limiting your daily activities, your eye doctor may recommend cataract surgery. Safe and straightforward, this procedure usually takes less than hour and is performed more than any other surgery in the world. Preoperative instructions are minimal. You may be asked to temporarily discontinue certain medications and supplements in the weeks prior to the procedure. You will also need to abstain from food and liquids on the day of surgery. Cataract surgery is performed in either a hospital or an outpatient surgery center. While a general anesthetic may be used, a combination of a local anesthetic plus a relaxing sedative is more common. These will help ensure that you are comfortable throughout the procedure. The Cataract Surgery Procedure Using a microscope, your eye surgeon will make a small cut into your eye. The size of the incision depends upon the method being used to remove the cloudy natural lens. When the lens is left in one piece, the incision is slightly larger. If the lens is broken into fragments prior to removal, a smaller incision is possible. Natural lenses are commonly broken into pieces using sound waves. However, advances in laser cataract surgery are making laser fragmentation an option as well. Once your natural lens has been removed, it's replaced by an artificial lens. This synthetic lens, known as an intraocular lens, or IOL, is inserted into your eye to improve vision. Traditional IOLs are made of plastic or silicon and are monofocal. This permanent lens cannot be felt and requires no additional care. Once the new lens is in place, your surgeon will close the incision using either stitches or a nostitch method. When sutures are used, they are generally made of a dissolvable material and don't require removal. Once the surgery is finished, the eye is patched and you will be transported to a recovery area. Your doctor will provide you with follow-up instructions to assist you in having a quick, complication-free recovery. Postoperative care will include medications, activity limitations and eye-protection requirements. The length of your recovery period should be around six weeks, but can vary depending on your age and medical condition. Premium Intraocular Lenses

It's important to keep in mind that while traditional cataract surgery and monofocal IOLs provide clearer vision at a distance, they do not treat presbyopia. You will still need glasses for activities like reading and computer work. Advances in eye care, however, are increasing your treatment options. Premium IOLs, which are either accommodating or multifocal, can be used instead of traditional IOLs. The Crystalens IOL is an example of an accommodating IOL that replaces your natural lens and also corrects presbyopia, eliminating the need for reading glasses. Multifocal IOLs are also available and can enhance visual clarity at a variety of distances. Discuss your IOL options with your surgeon to determine which type best suits your needs.

In the United States, many qualified eye surgeons are available to perform a variety of eye procedures, including cataract surgery, PRK and LASIK eye surgery. If you are in need of eye surgery, consult a board-certified Houston, New York or Chicago cataract surgery provider for a comprehensive evaluation and review of your treatment options.

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How Is Cataract Surgery Performed