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Cataract Surgery

At Seibel Vision Surgery, cataract surgery is a state-of-the-art procedure, using a microincisional procedure, called phacoemulsification.

Phacoemulsification uses ultrasound to dissolve the cataract and then a tiny foldable lens is implanted in its place.

Dr. Seibel operates while looking through a highly specialized microscope, which he helped design exclusively for this purpose (read more about our Zeiss OPMI VISU 150 BrightFlex Microscope.

A very small, beveled incision, about 3 millimeters in size - less than 1/8" wide, is made at the edge of the cornea, the transparent covering of the front of the eye. Because of the careful construction of this incision, and its small size, the incision is generally self-sealing. This translates to a "no-stitch" operation.

Dr. Seibel then creates an opening in the capsule, which is a micro-thin membrane surrounding the cataract. This procedure, called capsulorhexis, requires extraordinary precision since the capsule is only about four-thousandths of a millimeter thick. This membrane is actually thinner than a red blood cell and Dr. Seibel must delicately remove the capsule while manipulating instruments within the anterior chamber - a space only 3 millimeters deep.

Through the tiny incision, a microsurgical, ultrasonic, oscillating probe is inserted, which gently dissolves the cloudy lens, using high frequency sound waves.

Simultaneously, this same instrument suctions out the fragmented pieces. This process is called phacoemulsification, sometimes referred to as phaco.

Using the phacoemulsification tip, Dr. Seibel creates grooves in the cataract that subsequently breaks the cataract into smaller pieces that can then be aspirated out.

A second instrument passed through a smaller "side-port" incision is used to control the movement of the cataract.

Once the denser central nucleus of the cataract has been removed, the softer peripheral cortex of the cataract is removed using an irrigation/aspiration handpiece. The posterior capsule, an elastic bag-like membrane that held the lens, is left in place. It will support the new lens implant, as well as to maintain separation between the front and back parts of the eye.

The intraocular lens is folded and passed through the tiny incision where it is opened (implanted) inside the capsular bag. The lens is inserted via an injector designed to help keep the incision size small - while allowing implantation of a 6 millimeter lens through a 3 millimeter (or even smaller) incision. The springy arms of the IOL, known as haptics, hold the lens implant within the capsular bag. The IOL does not generally require sutures to remain in good position.

The lens is held in the same position as that of the natural lens (cataract) of the eye, within the capsular bag. At this stage, the cataract operation with IOL implantation is complete.

The incision is called self-sealing because the eye's natural internal pressure holds the incision tightly closed allowing the eye to heal without stitches. The chances of developing new astigmatism (distorted vision) after surgery are significantly decreased by eliminating stitches, which tend to pull the eye's surface slightly out of its natural shape.

The surgery typically takes about 20 minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis. This means that you will have the surgery and then go home, usually around 30 minutes afterwards. Most of the time only local anesthesia is used, so you will be awake for the entire process; a mild sedative will be given to insure that you are relaxed and comfortable. After the surgery, you are taken to the recovery room and then released. You will need someone to drive you home.

No, cataract surgery is best performed on one eye at a time, to enable you to use one eye while the other is healing. Because of the rapid recovery typical of Dr. Seibel's advanced techniques, patients typically may have their second eye surgery done within a week or even a few days of the first procedure.

All this information about cataracts and surgery might seem a little frightening to you. It is perfectly normal to be a bit apprehensive before any unfamiliar experience; however, be assured that the great majority of our patients say their surgery was remarkably pleasant, and that pain was not even a consideration. We will do everything possible to make sure you are completely comfortable throughout the entire procedure.

During your surgery, you will be given a relaxant to enhance calmness and neither see nor feel any part of the surgery. Afterwards, we will call you that evening to see that you are doing well. The next morning, you will visit with your physician to further cover any concerns you might have. We are here to help.

Continue to: Cataract Surgery, Recovery.

Seibel Vision Surgery
11620 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 711
Los Angeles, California 90025

(310) 444-1134