My practice is closed on Mondays, but I (happily) drive through LA traffic to staff residents in the cataract OR at USC. Residents spend their final year of residency perfecting this beautiful but dangerously precarious dance as follows:
1️⃣ The cataract (a hard, cloudy lens) is skillfully broken up and vacuumed out using a tiny ultrasound tip through a microscopic self-sealing incision. The more advanced the cataract is, the more difficult it becomes to remove the cataract without damaging the cornea or the 2-micron capsule (6x thinner than Saran Wrap ) that suspends the cataract away from the back of the eye (danger zone).
2️⃣ A new artificial lens is then inserted into the intact capsule. The lens power is specifically calculated for the patient’s eye and erases any prescription (myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism) they may have had. There are advanced lenses that also correct near vision (which fades with age), so goodbye to reading glasses too!
3️⃣ At my practice, I use a LASER instead of a blade to do some of the steps above to increase precision and safety. But all residents must first learn the fundamentals of doing cataract surgery manually.
In the hands of a skilled surgeon, cataract surgery is very safe and life-changing. It’s the most commonly performed surgery in the world and one of my favorite surgeries to do.