The operation is microsurgery, meaning it is performed using a high-powered microscope. A small speculum is gently placed in order to keep your eyelids apart throughout the procedure, so don’t be concerned about keeping your eye open and not blinking!
Two small incisions (1.0mm & 2.2mm) are made in the edge of your cornea, then the ‘capsular bag’, which covers the natural lens, is opened to create a circular hole called a ‘capsulorrhexis.’
An ultrasonic or ‘phacoemulsification’ probe is then introduced into the eye through the main corneal incision. It uses sound waves to break the cloudy lens into fragments, which are then small enough to be extracted through the attached suction port (Figure 1).
Once the capsular bag is clear of lens material, the artificial, or intraocular lens is implanted into your eye using a specialised lens injector (See Figure 2). The new lens unfolds inside the empty bag and is held in place with the aid of the IOL haptics (See Figure 3). The tiny 2mm corneal wounds are usually self-sealing, so stitches are rarely needed.
The IOL is approximately one-third the width of the natural lens that was removed, meaning that initially, the capsular bag is somewhat ‘floppy’ immediately after surgery. It takes a month or so for the capsular bag to ‘shrink wrap’ around the artificial lens and hold it firmly in position.