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What Happens During Cataract Surgery?in Boston, MA

Cataract surgery is one of the most common medical procedures performed. The operation has been around for many years and has evolved thanks to modern technology and ongoing research.

Though the technology has evolved, the basic principles of the procedure have remained the same. Although we ask that patients arrive about an hour before their procedure, cataract surgery typically only takes about 5-7 minutes to complete from start to finish!

Here is what happens during the procedure:


When you arrive at our Dedham Surgery Center, our team of nurses will greet you and prepare you for IV sedation. This will help you to relax prior to beginning the procedure.

Once you are settled, your eye surgeon will begin by putting numbing eye drops in your eye. The eye drops act as a local anesthetic.

As you blink, the drops spread over your eye, numbing the surface. This is all that is needed for the surgery to proceed without pain.

Making Incisions

When the eye is completely numb, the surgeon will use an instrument to hold your eye open while they operate. The surgeon then makes very small incisions through two layers of your eye to reach the lens.

At the Nielsen Eye Center, there are several surgical options available to our patients. For instance, the incisions could be made with a laser called a LenSX laser. Utilizing laser cataract technology over traditional cataract technology, we are able to make more precise measurements of the eye and provide you with the best possible quality of vision following the procedure. The tiny incisions made by the laser are created without a blade or scalpel and allow your eye surgeon to successfully remove your lens and cataract with more precision.


The process of breaking up the cataract and lens is known as phacoemulsification. Phacoemulsification uses a small ultrasonic device, which is inserted through the incision made by the laser. Once inserted, the device uses vibrations from sound waves to break apart the lens of the eye.

A laser can also soften the lens before breaking it up to make the procedure more gentle. Once the lens has broken down, those pieces are then removed using a small vacuum.

Intraocular Lens

During cataract surgery, the lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial lens implant. The artificial lens (also known as an IOL) allows you to see clearly after cataract surgery. IOLs come in several varieties and often let you see better than before you had cataracts.

All IOLs are inserted through the incision after cataract removal. The IOL is initially folded so it is small enough to fit through the tiny incision. It then unfolds once it’s put in place. Once the IOL has been placed in the eye, the procedure is over! There is no need for any stitches as the eye will heal and close the incisions naturally over time. If you have cataracts, surgery isn’t necessary until they begin to affect your quality of life. If you have cataracts and think you may be at that point, it is important to see an eye specialist to talk about cataract surgery.

Discuss your IOL options with your eye doctor before cataract surgery. This ensures you know what choices are available to you based on your vision, and have reasonable expectations during recovery.

Looking for a cataract specialist to perform your cataract surgery? You can contact the Nielsen Eye Center in the Boston area to schedule a cataract screening! There is no reason to live with the frustration and danger that vision loss from cataracts brings.

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