Cataract is caused by opacification of the normally transparent human lens. 68% of people in their 80s will have cataract.
The process is age related and is triggered by several other factors. Diabetes and some diseases are known to hasten cataract formation. Injury to the eye can lead to cataract at a much younger age. Surgical treatment for cataract has changed very significantly over last few years.
The surgery is performed on outpatient basis. Patients spend only few hours in the hospital. It is a safe and a common surgical procedure.
Cataract surgery involves removal of the cloudy natural lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens. Most modern day procedures involve use of a high frequency ultrasound device that breaks the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The broken fragments of the lens are gently removed from the eye with suction.
This procedure called "phaco-emulsification" or phaco is performed with much smaller opening. It leads to faster healing and lesser complications and very little downtime. After all remnants of the cloudy lens are thoroughly cleaned up it is replaced with a clear artificial intra-ocular lens. The new lens is positioned securely in the exact position occupied by the natural lens.(in special cases lens may be placed in sulcus or on the iris) The procedure is then completed by securing the incision, (stitch is generally not required). The eye may be padded for few hours after surgery.
The Femto second laser is used at some centres to make the corneal incision. The cost involved is prohibitive.