Anesthesia for Cataract Surgery

A cataract is a thin cloudy substance that covers the lens of your eye and obscures your vision. Cataracts usually develop in old age, and they will grow progressively worse over time if they are not treated. When performed early enough, cataract surgery can restore your vision by completely removing your cataracts and replacing them with intraocular lenses (IOLs), such as Crystalens and ReSTOR® lenses.

The prospect of cataract surgery may seem daunting, but in the hands of an experienced cataract surgeon like Dr. James Kelly, it is one of the safest and most successful surgical procedures in the medicine world. The average cataract surgery only takes 10 to 15 minutes to perform, and most of our patients are able to leave the surgery center just a couple of hours after their arrival.

The Role of Anesthesia in Cataract Surgery

Anesthesia is an important part of cataract surgery. In the past, general anesthesia was used for this procedure, requiring patients to spend a full night in the hospital. As time went on, however, most surgeons progressed to using local anesthesia via an injection behind the eyeball.

While the local anesthesia option is still in wide use, modern advances have led to the use of topical anesthesia, which is quickly growing in popularity. Topical anesthesia reduces the already small risk of surgical complications even further, and allows patients to enjoy a quick recovery.

Using Topical Anesthesia

Topical anesthesia is administered using eye drops that will numb your eye in preparation for cataract removal. Your cataracts are removed through the use of sound waves in a process called phacoemulsification. Typically, no stitches are needed. Once your cataract has been successfully removed, it will be replaced with an intraocular lens.

Cataract surgery is performed on one eye at a time. You will need to wait a few weeks after your first eye is treated before your second eye can undergo surgery.

If you have further questions about the use of anesthesia during cataract surgery, please contact us today to schedule a personal consultation with our experienced New York cataract surgeon Dr. James Kelly. The Kelly Laser Center serves patients in the New York City, Manhattan, and Long Island areas of New York.