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Cataract surgery is usually quick (about 15 minutes) and typically done as an outpatient procedure. You’ll be given a local anesthetic in the form of drops to numb your eye and will be fully awake the whole time. If you feel any discomfort or pain during cataract surgery, be sure to let your doctor know.

Cataract surgery procedure: Easy as 1-2-3

Your cataract procedure will be complete in 3 simple steps:

Timeline showing the three steps of cataract surgery

Step 1: Access the natural lens

A very small incision (~2mm) will be made in your cornea and lens capsule. If you have manual surgery, your doctor will do this with a handheld device. With laser-assisted surgery, a pre-programmed laser will make the incision. 

Step 2: Gently remove the cataract

In manual surgery, the clouded lens will be prepped with a tool and suctioned out for removal. Laser-assisted surgery softens the lens and delivers a precise cut that results in a grid of small, soft pieces that can be gently suctioned out of the eye. 

Step 3: Replace with an artificial lens

The doctor will insert a small, rolled-up intraocular lens that will slowly and gently unfold in your eye. The lens addresses blurry vision that resulted from your cataract.

To learn what to expect after surgery, click here.