A Comprehensive Look at the History of Cataract Surgery

When it comes to the question of when cataract surgery was invented, there are several factors to consider. From the development of new methods to help remove cataracts, to the use of lasers and micro-incision technology, these characteristics have all played a role in making cataract surgery a standard procedure today. In this article, we'll take a look at the history of cataract surgery and how it has evolved over time.

In ancient times, surgical intervention for cataracts was not a common practice. During the precouching period, clubs were used to operate on superficial ocular growths, such as pterygia. In addition, people would rub their eyes to make them bleed. One of the earliest known surgical tools was a jaw, but there is little evidence to suggest that the first surgeon to perform cataract surgery did so with a jaw.

Fetal extraction was also mentioned in ancient medical texts, but no one has been able to provide a satisfactory explanation for it. The earliest decapitators were from the second or third century BCE. In modern times, intraocular lenses (IOLs) are artificial lenses implanted inside the eye's capsular bag. They are used in cases of advanced cataracts and can also be used to correct severe dry eyes and red eyes.

The popularity of cataract surgery can be attributed to a combination of individual surgeons migrating to new parts of the world and the need for improved vision among migrant populations. For many, it is an easy fix that allows them to resume their normal daily activities.


The use of thorns to lift pterygia is more plausible than it may have first appeared. In Mesoamerica, the Nahuatl used thorns for this purpose. However, thorns can also be dangerous and can cause eye injuries. A hollow cataract needle was mentioned in a Russian instrument set and was claimed to be able to do the trick by oral suction. However, Egyptian oculist Sadaqah ibn Ibrahim al-Shadhili disagreed and believed that it was a gimmick.

The true measure of success for cataract surgery is its effect on vision. Although a cataract may be removed, it may not be restored if there is an inferior cornea present. When a cataract is cut into an inferior cornea, patients are left with an unidentifiable proteinaceous substance that may contain microbes.

Other surgical devices were also used in ancient and medieval times. The first known surgical tool was probably the mouth, although it was likely a more sophisticated version of that. The first available cataract surgery was demonstrated by Ammar, a Greek medical doctor who showed his students how to perform it. In addition to using thorns, hollow cataract needles may have been in use in the Byzantine Empire.


Cataract surgery has shifted towards a minimally invasive approach in recent years. The phacoemulsification technique developed by Charles Kelman changed the way cataract surgery was performed by using ultrasound waves to break up the cataract into smaller pieces. This made the surgery more efficient and reduced postoperative complications while increasing patient comfort levels.

The microincision cataract surgery (MICS) approach is the latest development in cataract surgery. Its advantages include reduced invasiveness, less surgically induced astigmatism, and decreased postoperative corneal aberrations. It uses a small incision of less than 2.0 mm and minimizes the use of phacoemulsification power. The incision is made using high-speed ultrasound waves that vibrate 40,000 times per second.

Cataract surgery has come a long way since its inception and continues to evolve as new technologies become available. From its humble beginnings in ancient times to its current state as a standard procedure today, it's clear that cataract surgery has had an incredible impact on vision care around the world.

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