Health Center
Innovation Spotlight
Optical Illusions
Eye Care Library
Contact Us

 Phaco Machine (Phacoemulsifer)

Because a cataract is, by definition, a clouding of the eye's natural crystalline lens, cataract surgery involves removal of this lens. Cataract surgery has evolved through the years from a complex procedure involving a long recovery time to a very safe, effective procedure, which allows the patient to walk out of the surgical suite and to resume normal activities within a few days.

Modern cataract surgery is made possible by the use of a complex machine called a phacoemulsifier, which breaks the cataract into tiny pieces and then suctions those pieces from the eye through a very small incision. Prior to the development of the phaco machine, the cataract was normally removed in one piece, requiring a larger incision, sutures, and more trauma to the eye. The phacoemulsification procedure is also faster, usually requiring less than 15 minutes per eye.

In simple terms, the phacoemulsifier is a sophisticated machine that sends ultrasonic vibrations to a tiny probe that has been inserted through an incision into the cloudy lens that constitutes the cataract. Vibrating at about 40,000 cycles per second, this probe emulsifies or breaks up the cataract into pieces so small that they can be vacuumed from the lens capsule of the eye. The phaco machine also provides the vacuum necessary to remove these particles through the hollow center of the probe. At the same time, it introduces an irrigation solution that maintains pressure and prevents the eye from collapsing.

Phaco machines continue to evolve, giving surgeons an even wider margin of safety with more precise controls and a greater diversity of instrumentation. Thanks to phacoemulsification and many other extraordinary innovations, cataract surgery is now among the safest and most effective surgical procedures in the world.

Related topics:

Print this page

Copyright © 2005 VisionRx LLC. All Rights Reserved.