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Cataract Extraction


Cataract extraction is a procedure to remove a cloudy lens from your eye. An artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) is put in its place. This will improve your vision.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Local anesthesia is a shot of medicine put into or around your eye. Sometimes only eyedrops are necessary. The medicine is used to numb the area and dull the pain. You may still feel pressure or pushing during the procedure. General anesthesia is medicine given through an IV or a mask. Healthcare providers use this medicine to keep you asleep and free from pain during the procedure. This type of medicine is not usually needed for a cataract extraction. Healthcare providers will work with you to decide which anesthesia is best for you.

During your procedure:

After your pupil is fully dilated, a tool will hold your eye open to prevent blinking. A small incision will be made in the cornea (clear covering over your iris). A tiny instrument will be inserted next to the cloudy lens. This instrument uses sound waves to break the lens into small pieces that are suctioned out. The IOL will then be placed in this area. The incision will be closed. Stitches may be used, depending on the size of the incision. A protective eye shield may then be placed over your eye.

After your procedure:

You will be taken to a room to rest and recover. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be allowed to go home.

  • An eye shield may be used to cover your eye and protect it from damage.
    Eye Shield
  • Eyedrops may be given to help prevent infection and decrease inflammation.


You may develop an eye infection and bleeding inside the eye. Your retina may swell, or a piece may break off. This is called detachment. You may go blind. You may develop glaucoma (increased pressure inside your eye). You may have swelling in and damage to your cornea. Sometimes the area where the IOL is placed also clouds up. This may happen months or even years after the procedure. Your cataract will continue to get more cloudy if it is not removed. It may cause you to go blind.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.