Surgically removing a cataract is usually done on an outpatient basis and involves making an incision into the capsule of the cataractous lens to remove the lens. A topical or local anesthetic will be applied, as well as dilating eye drops and/or a sedative, to make the operation painless. The doctor will choose to physically remove the cloudy lens, or to break it up using high frequency sound waves, and then extract the lens particles using suction. In either case, the lens is replaced with a flexible plastic lens that will remain permanently. These replacement lenses can be adjusted to correct other previous vision deficiencies as well.

Cataract surgery incisions are usually self-sealing and do not require sutures. When stitches are occasionally required for healing, they can be easily and painlessly removed in the office.

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