Dr. Benjamin performing cataract phacoemulsification procedure
Before the advent of phacoemulsification by the late Dr. Charles Kellman in the 1970's, cataract surgery was a big deal. It involved making a large (12mm) incision with subsequent removal of the whole cataract from the eye. The removal of a cataract in toto was termed extracapsular cataract extraction, and was akeen to removing a pit from a cherry. This surgery was associated with a lengthy post operative recovery as the large incisions required lots of stitches. The stitches caused high degree of post operative astigmatism, necessitating strong glasses prescriptions.
The unrelenting progress of science and technology has lead to development of phacoemulsification, clear corneal microincisions (less than 2mm), that are self sealing and require no stitches. The lens technology has advanced to where a foldable lens is inserted through the microscopic opening.
All this means that in capable hands, cataract extraction takes 5 to 7 minutes, with the patient enjoying greatly improved vision almost instantaneously in recovery room.
Step 1: anesthetic and dilating eye drops are instilled
Step 2: the eye is anesthetized and the pupils are dilated
Step 3: a clear corneal selfsealing micro incision is made
Step 6: a small opening, termed a capsulotomy is made in the capsule containing the cataract
Step 9: a clear corneal selfsealing micro incision is made: an ultrasonic probe is used to break up and vacuum the cloudy lens.
Step 12: the incision is self-sealing and requires no stitches or glue