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Cataract Surgery Techniques

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Using the extracapsular cataract extraction technique, the surgeon makes an incision where the cornea and sclera meet. Carefully entering the eye through the incision, the surgeon gently opens the front of the capsule and removes the hard center, or nucleus, of the lens. Using a microscopic instrument, the surgeon then suctions out the soft lens cortex, leaving the capsule in place.


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Phacoemulsification is a modification of the extracapsular cataract extraction. In phacoemulsification, the nucleus is fragmented by an ultrasonic oscillating probe. The nuclear fragments are simultaneously suctioned from the eye. The size of the incision is smaller that the incision needed to remove the capsule in the extracapsular technique.


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An intraocular lens (IOL) is a clear plastic lens that is implanted in the eye during the cataract operation. Lens implants have certain advantages. They usually eliminate or minimize the problems with image size, side vision and depth perception noted by people who wear cataract eyeglasses. They are also more convenient than contact lenses because they remain in the eye and do not have to be removed, cleaned, and reinserted.