Phacoemulsification is a surgical method used to remove a
cataract, which is a clouding of the eye's naturally clear lens. A cloudy lens
interferes with light passing through to the retina, the light-sensing layer of
cells at the back of the eye. Having a cataract can be compared to looking at
the world through a foggy window.
In phacoemulsification, an ultrasonic oscillating probe is
inserted into the eye. The probe breaks up the center of the lens. The
fragments are suctioned from the eye at the same time. A small incision that
often does not require sutures to close can be used since the cataract is
removed in tiny pieces. Most of the lens capsule is left behind and a foldable
intraocular lens implant, or IOL, is placed permanently inside to help focus
light onto the retina. Vision returns quickly and one can resume normal
activities within a short period of time.