How Does Cataract Surgery Work?


Our surgeons have performed over 25,000 cataract surgery procedures over the past 25 years.

Steps in Cataract Surgery

Modern cataract surgery is almost always performed on an outpatient basis at the Seton Outpatient Surgery Center, the Eye Surgery Center of San Francisco or the California Pacific Medical Center in Pacific Heights.

  1. The patient is given a sedative by the anesthesiologist
  2. A local anesthetic is administered.
  3. The doctor creates a micro-incision in the cornea.
  4. An ultrasound process called phacoemulsification is used to break up the cataract and gently remove the cloudy lens.
  5. The natural lens is replaced with a safe and permanent Intraocular Lens (IOL).
  6. Stitches are rarely required to close the incision.

Most patients are able to resume their normal daily activities the day after surgery, and visual recovery occurs over the next several weeks.

During the few weeks after having cataract surgery, follow-up visits with your ophthalmologist are crucial. Postoperative checkups help your doctor monitor your vision recovery and healing as well as provide counseling regarding vision changes that occur throughout the recovery process.


Types of IOLs

Conventional lens implants are monofocal. This means that they focus the eye for only one viewing distance. These lenses have been in use for many years, and they give excellent vision. After cataract surgery with a conventional lens implant, most people have their focus point set for clear distance vision and then use a pair of reading glasses to see things clearly at near. A thin pair of glasses may be required for the very sharpest vision possible at both distance and near.

Today there are options when it comes to the type of IOL implanted during cataract surgery: High Tech Lenses.

  • Presbyopia-correcting IOL: Allow for focusing at multiple distances, often eliminating the need for reading glasses
  • Astigmatic-correcting IOL’s: Correct astigmatism at the same time as cataract surgery

You should discuss these options with your doctor prior to your surgery.



Cataract Surgery Technology

We use advanced technology for all cataract procedures, including:

  • Stellaris by Bausch & Lomb
  • Infinity Vision System by Alcon
  • OPMI Lumera-Zeiss operating microscope

We will explain in detail which technology is used at each of our locations so you will feel completely confident during your procedure. Schedule your Cataract Consultation today.