Removal – How are cataracts removed?

Cataract surgery is one of the safest, most successful and effective surgeries(1) you can have.

Cataracts are removed using a simple operation that removes the eye’s natural lens and replaces it with an intraocular lens (IOL). Cataract surgery isn’t at all painful, and, is most commonly carried out under a local anaesthetic which is administered using eye drops; no needles or injections are needed.

The operation is typically carried out on an outpatient basis and doesn’t require an overnight stay at the hospital you receive treatment in. You’ll likely be in the hospital for around two to three hours on the day of your operation, but the surgery itself will usually only take around 10 minutes to carry out.

Most cataract surgeries use a process called phacoemulsification(2). The surgeon makes a small incision in the eye, and, inserts a high frequency ultrasound device to break the clouded lens into small pieces, which are then removed. Once the clouded lens has been removed, an IOL is inserted and an antibiotic solution placed in the eye. A protective shield is then placed over the eye for 24 hours to prevent infection while the eye heals.



  1. All About Vision: Cataract surgery: Everything you need to know
  2. Wikipedia: Phacoemulsification

Other related questions

  • Hospital – which hospital will do my cataract surgery?

  • Referral – how do I get a referral for surgery?

  • Symptoms – Can you see cataracts?

  • LASIK surgery – Can a person with cataracts have LASIK surgery?

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