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Cataract Surgery: Unusual Questions Answered That You Never Thought To Ask

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If you are scheduled to have cataract surgery, your optometrist has already prepared you by telling you some things about the procedure. You already know that your clouded lenses will be removed and replaced with contact lenses. You also know that laser surgery means less down time than traditional eye surgery. While the optometrist covered the basics and some details, making sure to answer questions everyone in your position asks, there are still some questions that go unasked and unanswered. Here are a couple of those questions, but be forewarned--they are not for the squeamish.

What Happens to the Fluid in the Eyes During Cataract Surgery?

Aqueous humor, the fluid that is just behind the coverings over your irises, replenshes on its own, although any incisions made near the iris during cataract surgery would be highly unusual. Your more pressing concern is probably with the vitreous humor, the gel-like liquid that fills the entire inside of both eyeballs. It controls the pressure in the eye and helps light rays focus on the retina so you can see. Since it is gelatinous in nature, it is not likely to leak out when your surgeon makes the incision on the side of your eye. Even when he or she breaks up the center of each clouded lens in your eyes and then removes the pieces with suction, your surgeon is very careful not to take the vitreous humor with the bits of your old lenses. In short, that "liquid" stays put unless you accidentally apply extreme pressure to one or both eyes after surgery.

How Do the Intraocular Lenses Stay in Place and Not Float Around Inside the Eyes?

You would think that because no stitches are used and nothing is fused, intraocular lenses would slip all around inside your eyes the way soft contacts do on the outsides of your eyes. However, that is not the case. Because the surgeon only removes the centermost part of your cloudy lenses, the outer rims remain intact and connected to the tiny muscles that hold the lenses of your eyes in place. Over the recently removed centers of your cataracts your surgeon installs the IOC's (intraocular lenses), allowing them to fit snugly in place over the remaining rims of your old lenses. With no wiggle room and no need to secure the IOC's, you do not have to worry about the lenses moving inside your eyes.