Cataract measurements & surgery

Measurements for surgery using a laser

Figure 1. Measurements for surgery using a laser


As you might appreciate, the lens that replaces the removed natural lens needs to be of the correct size for the particular eye.

Each eye, is of a different length, has a different curvature of the cornea and has variable intraocular dimensions. As lenses have focal distances, it is important that the focal length of the implanted lens is appropriate for the length of the eye. Thus, prior to surgery, a number of measurements need to be performed.

Traditionally this was done using ultrasound technology. This however has been superseded by laser measuring technology. Whilst ultrasound was reasonably accurate, it does not compare with the accuracy of a laser.


Once you have been assessed at the initial visit where the level of cataract, the refractive aim and the measurements are performed tall that is left to do is  book your surgery. A script will be given to you for anti-inflammatory eyes which need to be commenced three days before surgery. As of this posting, we are using Acular eye drops. It is important to commence them as indicated and they continue to be used after surgery until they run out.


Phacoemulsification machine

Figure 2. Phacoemulsification machine

Bring comfortable clothes and someone to take you home. The hospital will not permit you to have your surgery if you come alone. You will be discharged the same day.


The procedure will take about half an hour. The anaesthetist will use an anaesthetic to put your eye to sleep and a mild sedative to relax you. There are no needles or injections into the eye.

During the procedure you will be lying on your back and you will be asked to look at a light. The whole operation is done under a microscope. It is important to bear in mind that there are instruments within your eye so you cannot move, talk, raise your hand or move your feet. You must keep perfectly still. You will feel touching and pressure sensations but you will not experience any pain.

If you are having surgery using the Femto laser then this will happen first in the laser room. You will then be taken to the main operating room to complete the procedure by implanting the lens.

At the end of the procedure you will have a clear shield on your eye which can be removed after several hours. It should be worn in bed at night to protect the eye.

During the operation, a machine called a phacoemulsifier is used to remove the cataract through a 2.2 mm opening. An acrylic intraocular lens is then implanted in the eye.


There is no need to stay in hospital so you can go home after the procedure. The shield should be taken off after several hours. You will be given a prescription for two eyedrops which you should start when you take of the eyeshield. One drop of each drop with a 5 minute gap between each one. The following day you will either come for a review or receive a phone call to check on you.

A cataract operation under a microscope

Figure 3. A cataract operation under a microscope

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