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Cataract Treatment Information
The only way to cure a cataract is by removing it through surgery. Two procedures are available:
- Small incision surgery. In this outpatient surgery, we make a small incision (cut) in the cornea (transparent, dome-shaped covering at the front of the eye). We then break up the lens using a small probe that sends out ultrasound waves. We remove the pieces using suction. In most cases, we insert a synthetic implant to replace your natural lens. The entire procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes and is the most common type of cataract surgery. You receive a topical or local anesthetic so that you do not feel pain during the operation, and you can usually go back to most normal activities within a day or so. Full recovery can take several weeks. One version of this procedure requires an incision four to six millimeters long that can be closed with as little as one stitch. Another technique uses an even smaller cut and does not require any stitches. You may not even need an eye patch during your recovery from small incision cataract surgery. If you need surgery in both eyes, we will schedule a second procedure for one to two months after the first.
- Extracapsular surgery. This procedure is similar to small incision surgery, but involves making a longer incision and removing the cataract in one piece. We close the incision, which is 10 to 12 millimeters long, with stitches. Extracapsular surgery is useful for advanced cataracts that are too thick to break up with ultrasound. The procedure typically takes about 30 minutes and is performed with a topical or local anesthetic so that you do not feel pain. You can usually go back to most normal activities within a day or so, although full recovery requires several weeks. You may need an eye patch for a few days after surgery. This procedure is performed only infrequently. Small incision surgery, with the lens broken up by ultrasound waves, is the standard procedure for most patients.
Cataract Locations & Physicians
Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area.
Find a Specialist
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Cataract Support Services
These websites include information and resources on cataracts:
A Sampling of Cataract Support Services
Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute
As part of the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Glick Eye Institute maintains patient fact sheets on cataract and other common conditions.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers details on the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts.
Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
You may be eligible to participate in a study of new treatment approaches for cataracts. This site lists Indiana clinical trials that are seeking
National Eye Institute
This U.S. federal agency provides an overview of cataracts and their treatment.