Can You Have Cataract Surgery Without Lens Replacement?

Cataract surgery is a common procedure that involves removing the clouded natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL can be made of acrylic, silicone, or rigid plastic and is inserted in front of or behind the iris. It can be a monofocal or multifocal lens, depending on the patient's needs. The high-tech approach to removing the natural lens is called phacoemulsification, which uses a high-frequency ultrasound device to break up the lens. The ophthalmologist performs the surgery under local anesthetic and most patients will see significant improvements in their vision after cataract surgery. The IOL can be placed in various sites inside the eye, such as the anterior chamber, posterior chamber, or behind the iris. The IOL has flexible struts called haptics that act like tension-loaded springs to center the lens. Depending on the type of IOL, the haptics has different shapes. The IOL can also be injected into the capsular bag, but if it is dislocated, the doctor may try to salvage it or replace it with another one. The patient may need corrective glasses for reading or close work after the surgery. However, cataract surgery is considered one of the safest surgical procedures available and most patients can resume normal activities within hours of surgery. It is important to have an eye exam to detect a cataract and to evaluate other structures inside the eye. The doctor will also consider the patient's medical history and risk factors before deciding on the best option for their patient.

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