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What is a cataract? What happens during surgery?

What is a cataract?

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A cataract is a clouding or opacity in the lens of the eye. The lens is located behind the iris. The lens functions to focus light rays onto the retina. When it is cloudy or has opacities in it, it can cause a blurring of vision, a loss of contrast sensitivity, double vision or shadows in one eye, and increased problems with glare from lights and headlights.

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How is cataract surgery performed?

During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed from the clear membrane sac that surrounds it. The lens is broken up into tiny pieces by sound waves and removed, and a clear lens is placed back within the membrane sac to give you clear vision. The first steps of the surgery — making a small opening in the cornea, making an opening in the front part of the membrane sac, and the initial steps to break up the lens — can be performed either with precise instruments that Dr. Dale holds (“manual surgery”) or performed with the assistance of a laser. Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery (LACS) may provide benefits in the precision of the surgical incisions and the ability to reduce the amount of astigmatism in the cornea.