General Description

Cataracts are opacities of the crystalline lens of the eye. This lens is needed in order to be able to focus images clearly in the retina.


The great majority of cataracts are attributed to the aging process of the crystalline lens or due to one of the following:

Benefits of treatment

The objective of surgical treatment of the cataract is to remove the damaged intraocular lens and to replace it with an artificial lens which will help restore normal vision.

Technical description of surgery

Phacoemulsification is the most modern technique used for cataract removal.

  1. Topical anesthesia is applied, generally eye drops.
  2. A corneal incision of approximately 2.8 mm is made. The incision does not usually require sutures. The lens is contained in a capsule which is attached to the rest of the eye by thousands of ciliary zonules which keep it in their normal anatomical position and allow the lens to focus.
  3. A small incision is made in the anterior lens capsule and a phacoemulsification probe is inserted. This probe has a needle that vibrates at ultrasonic speed. It fragments the lens in small portions which are suctioned immediately.
  4. Once the cataract has been suctioned, an intraocular lens is inserted in the capsule. In most cases it is a foldable lens. The advantage of the folding lens is that it can be put in place through the initial self sealing incision.
    This intraocular lens (usually called IOL) can be monofocal, which allows the patient to see either near or far, or multifocal, which allows both near and far vision.


Not needed. You leave the Clinic immediately and return the next day for a check up.


One hour before the surgery in order to properly dilate the pupils.

Approximate time of surgery

20 minutes total.

Approximate recovery time

The patient immediately feels a significant improvement in vision. This improvement continues during the three weeks following the surgery.

Recommended stay in Costa Rica

At least 5 days after the surgery.