What are Phaco and IOL (Intra Ocular Lens) ?
Phacoemulsification, or phaco, is method of cataract surgery in which the eye’s internal lens is emulsified using ultrasonic energy and replaced with an intraocular lens implant, or IOL.
How is it done?
Phaco surgery is performed with a small ultrasonic probe that is inserted into the eye via a two-to-three millimeter incision. This probe breaks the cloudy lens into tiny pieces and sucks the fragments out of the eye. Your doctor will place a permanent artificial lens (called an intraocular lens or IOL) where the natural lens used to be. Surgery is performed under a local anesthetic, which prevents movement of the eye. Or topical anesthetic may be used to numb the area. Most procedures take between 15 minutes and one hour.
Why is it done?
A cataract clouds the lens of the eye causing vision loss that interferes with daily activities. The only effective means of restoring full and clear vision that has been compromised by cataracts is to perform surgery to remove and replace them with permanent artificial lenses.
Risks & complications
Complications are infrequent and usually minor. However, as with any surgery, there are risks, including the possibility of:
- Infection requiring antibiotics and in some cases hospitalization
- Inflammation (redness, swelling) of the eye
- Corneal swelling
- Vision loss
- Retinal detachment
- Development of secondary cataracts
Risks can be reduced by following the surgeon's instructions before and after surgery.
For less severe cataracts, vision may improve by changing eyeglasses, using a magnifying glass or increasing lighting. Beyond these measures surgery is the only effective treatment. The surgeon may discuss alternative surgical approaches to Phacoemulsification including direct surgical removal of the entire lens and/or lens capsule.
Phacoemulsification and intraocular lens implant surgery is ideal for individuals with no other eye disease. Patients with diabetes are known to be at a high risk for worsening eye problems after this procedure. The surgeon will make the final determination of each patient’s eligibility for the procedure after an examination and consultation with the patient.