Cataract Surgery

Andrea Desmarais, Surgical Coordinator

Cataract Surgery


As opposed to years gone by when cataract surgery was done in the hospital on an inpatient basis, surgery at Virginia Beach Eye Center is now done at our in-office, state licensed, Medicare accredited and AAAHC certified ambulatory surgery center. This center was designed from the ground up as an eye center of excellence, and was the first eye surgery center in southeast Virginia with these credentials!


Our surgical suite contains all the most advanced eye surgery instrumentation available to insure a high quality surgical experience with the best results possible. We have a truly attentive and caring staff, who will be familiar to you since they are some of the same professionals who you have seen on the “clinic” side of our comprehensive practice during your office visits. We enjoy an extremely high patient satisfaction rate with regular praise about the ease and comfort of the surgical experience.


In our center, the surgery is performed with a mild sedative that you take orally, instead of the IV required in the hospital. We find this oral method to be just as effective as IV medication and eliminates, from most patient’s perspectives, the worst part of the surgery. We then use very effective local anesthetics on and in the eye to prevent any significant pain during the procedure. These numbing medicines are simply dropped onto the eye and irrigated into the eye without needles. The surgery is performed beneath an operating microscope with the patient lying down in the “face up” (supine) position. During the surgery which takes about 15 minutes, the patient usually will see lights, colors and movement, but cannot make out any surgical detail.


The surgery itself involves making tiny, painless, self-sealing incisions in the eye followed by removal of the cataract with automated instrumentation and technique known as phaco-emulsification, an ultrasound method of lens removal. Here at VBEC, we use Abbott Medical Optics newest cataract removal unit, the WHITESTAR Signature™ with Ellips™ Transversal Ultrasound technology and Fusion™ Fluidics, one of the most technologically advanced units ever achieved. In modern cataract surgery the cataract is now disassembled, instead of completely removed as it was in years gone by. To visualize this, think of the cataract as if it were a cherry. First, we remove a circular piece of the front skin of the cherry with precise instruments. Then we scoop out the pulp and the pit of the cherry with our phaco unit and polish the back skin of the cherry with a diamond dusted cannula. Finally we implant our intraocular (IOL) lens inside this cherry skin “bag” where it becomes “shrink wrapped” inside the original lens covering. This is the best place for the IOL, as it becomes very securely fixed to the eye, is perfectly centered, and is in a very “biocompatible” position. An “immune privileged” space inside the eye where your immune system doesn’t recognize it as a foreign object.


After surgery most patients notice an immediate improvement in vision with some mild blurriness and scratchiness that resolves overnight. You only stay in the post-operative recovery area a few minutes. Just long enough to have some juice, check your vital signs and go over your post-operative instructions. You are required to have a friend or family member drive you home because of your pre-operative sedation. You’ll come in the next day for a brief post-op visit to see your surgeon, then usually a final post-op check at 4 weeks. If the other eye needs surgery, this is most commonly scheduled for 4 weeks after the first eye. This healing time between eyes allows us to check the refractive status of the first eye and adjust the IOL power for the second eye, improving the overall post-op vision result.

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