Folks preparing for cataract surgery have a difficult time grasping the concept of sutureless surgery. Years ago a large crescent-shaped surgical incision along the edge of the cornea was used to deliver the mature lens in one piece (roughly the size of a M&M; candy!) Afterwards this large incision required multiple sutures to preserve the integrity of the eye. The ‘stitches’ often irritated the eye and they had to be manually removed several weeks or months later. Sutures also imposed mechanical tension on the healing cornea and astigmatism (excess corneal curvature) was a familiar outcome.
Subsequently, innovative surgeons devised clever ways to debulk the lens while it was still inside the eye. Modern phacoemulsification techniques use ultrasonic energy and a little suction to totally remove the cloudy lens by means of a tiny clear corneal incision. The design of the surgeon’s dovetail incision permitted the angled edges of the cornea to fit together perfectly to seal the eye without the need for sutures. At the end of the procedure the surgeon tests to make sure the self-sealing incision in intact and that no fluid is leaking from the eye.
Modern cataract surgery methods permit individuals to enjoy faster, safer, more comfortable healing. The incision heals and no visible scar develops.
If you are anticipating cataract surgery be sure to fully comply with the doctor’s postoperative instructions, including eyedrop administration, in order that your suturelsss corneal incision heals without complications.