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History of Cataract Surgery
By Dr. Rajen Verma, Speacialist, Jamshedpur Eye Hospital, Sakchi, Jamshedpur.

Cataracts have been a medical problem throughout history. In early times, strange concotions and eye drops were used to treat cataracts until physicians in ancient India began surgical treatment. Their highly primitive method coughing involved using a sharp instrument to push the cloudy lens to the bottom of the eye.

In the 18th century, surgeons progressed to making an incision in the eye to remove the entire lens with its capsule. With the eyes natural lens removed, the only way a catarct patient could see after surgery was to wear thick haevy glasses.

By the 20th century, surgeons learned to remove only the cloudy lens and leave the empty capsule in the eye. British surgeon Harold Ridley designed a tiny plastic lens that was successfully implanted in the eye.

In 1968 American surgeon Charles Kelman adapted a new technology called ultrasound to remove cataracts. The sophisticated procedure, known as phacoemulsification, uses a tiny probe with a vibrating tip to break up the cataract and wash it away. Catarct surgery was revolutionised when ultrasound and lens technology were combined. Modern cataract surgery is considered one of the safest surgeries performed with millions of procedures completed successfully around the world.

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