Types of Cataract Procedures

Topical or No-Needle Anaesthesia

Cataract surgery has witnessed much advancement, from using general anesthesia to local anaesthesia where puncture was made behind the eyeball, and now, topical anaesthesia (eye drops only). In the past, cataract surgery was performed under general anaesthesia, which meant patients were made to stay back at the hospital for a long while. Later, under local anaesthesia, a puncture was made by injecting anaesthetic just behind the eyeball. This procedure was, however, not entirely free of risk. These days, eye drop anaesthesia is used and a patient is sedated using an intravenous drip (IV).

No Needle anaesthesia

Advantages of Topical Anaesthesia

  • It is faster.
  • The patient is more comfortable. It also eliminates any anxiety the patient may have about a needle being inserted into the eyeball.
  • Visual recovery begins almost immediately since the eye muscles aren't paralyzed as in the case of local block anaesthesia.
  • It eliminates potential complications such as perforation of the eye, haemorrhages or damage to the optic nerve.
  • It removes the chance of a relatively dangerous anaesthesia-induced allergic reaction.
  • It eliminates the potential for post-operative headaches caused by conventional blocks.
  • It eliminates the need for an eye patch.

No-Stitch, Self-Sealing Incision Surgery

Phacoemulsification or ultrasound technology is used to remove a cataract. A probe is inserted through a 2.5 mm opening created with a specific self-sealing technique. This places the incision into the cornea. Most patients prefer this technique combined with the soft foldable lens implant.

Ultrasound is then used to gently emulsify (break up) the cloudy lens into tiny pieces, that can then be removed through the tip of the probe (or ‘phaco’) instead of through a wide incision. A special lens can then be implanted through the incision.

No Needle Anesthesia

Advantages of Phacoemulsification

  • There is no placement or removal of sutures.
  • It may be performed under local or topical anaesthesia.
  • An eye patch is not required when performed under topical anaesthesia.
  • The incision is bloodless.
  • It reduces post-operative restrictions.
  • It improves post-operative vision and minimizes post-operative astigmatism.