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What Is Phacoemulsification?

Phacoemulsification Has Gained In Popularity In Recent Years, And Is Now The Preferred Form Of Cataract Removal. Although This Procedure Has Been Available To Us For A Long Time, Recent Advances And Refinements In Machine And Microsurgical Instruments Have Made It Safer And More Effective Than Previously.

The Technique Of Phacoemulsification Utilizes A Small Incision. The Tip Of The Instrument Is Introduced Into The Eye Through This Small Incision. Localized High Frequency Waves Are Generated Through This Tip To Break The Cataract Into Very Minute Fragments And Pieces, Which Are Then Sucked Out Through The Same Tip In A Controlled Manner. A Thin 'Capsule' Or Shell Is Left Behind After Cleaning Up Of The Entire Opaque Cataract.

The Incision Size For Phacoemulsification Is Approximately 3.0 Millimeters In Width. If A Lens Implant That Can Be Folded Is Used Following Removal Of The Cataract, This Incision May Not Have To Be Enlarged. If A Lens Is Used Which Cannot Be Folded, The Incision Must Be Enlarged To 5.0 Or 5.5 Mm.

Phacoemulsification, Phacoemulsification Cataract Surgery, Cataract Surgery Complications

Laser Cataract Surgery

Many People Believe That Cataract Surgery Is Typically Performed With A Laser. In Fact, This Is One Of The Most Common Misperceptions In Medicine.

The Phaco Probe That Is Most Commonly Used In Modern Cataract Surgery Vibrates Rapidly At Ultrasonic Frequency To Break Up The Cataract And Allow It To Be Removed Through A Small Opening In The Phaco Probe. A Recently Developed Instrument Now Uses A Laser To Break Up The Cataract, But The Laser Is Not As Powerful As Ultrasound, And It Cannot Be Used To Remove Advanced Cataracts. Other Methods Of Breaking Up The Lens Are Under Investigation, Like The Use Of Tiny, Powerful Jets Of Water. Currently, There Is No Evidence That Laser Phaco Machines Produce Better Outcomes Than Ultrasound Phaco Machines.

The Anatomy Of The Eye And The Presence Or Absence Of Other Conditions Like Glaucoma May Determine The Best Method To Use For Cataract Surgery. Patients Considering Cataract Surgery May Want To Discuss Procedural Details With Their Ophthalmologist, But The Decision As To Which Surgical Technique Is Most Appropriate Is A Decision That Is Best Left To The Surgeon.

What Are The Advantages Of Phacoemulsification Over Routine Extracapsular Surgery?

In A Conventional Surgery The Incision Required Is Larger (10-12 Mm) And Requires Stitches For Closing. This Larger Incision Takes 6-8 Weeks To Heal. Moreover, The Stitches Can Cause Distortion Of The Normal Curvature Of The Cornea (The Clear Part Of Eye) And Thus Lead To Astigmatism And Blurred Vision Because Of This.

Essentially All The Advantages Of Phacoemulsification Are Because Of Small Incision, Which Is Self-Sealing. The Wound Is More Stable And The Chances Of Wound Complications Are Minimized. The Patients Can Resume Their Normal Activity Faster As Compared To Conventional Extracapsular Surgery. The Wound Healing Is Faster And More Predictable, And Therefore Glasses Can Be Prescribed Much Earlier As Compared To The Conventional Surgery. The Patient Requires Less Follow Up Visits For Checkups. As The Incision Is Small And In Many Cases Stitches Are Not Required, The Cornea Does Not Get Distorted And Therefore The Chances Of Significant Astigmatism Is Minimized.

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