UPDATE 2011: A newer version of this animation is now available! You can watch it here: https://youtu.be/icYLMmENk_c
http://www.nucleushealth.com/ - This 3D medical animation depicts the phacoemulsification and extracapsular removal of a cataract (cloudy lens), and the placement of an artificial lens.
The lens of the eye is responsible for focusing images onto the back of the eye. It is normally transparent. As a normal part of aging, the lens begins to cloud and causes a gradual, painless loss in vision. Cataract removal is most often performed to better examine the back of the eye when monitoring for damage from certain diseases such as diabetes or glaucoma and to improve vision. There are two main types of cataract removal. The large majority of cataract surgeries are performed using the phacoemulsification technique. During the phacoemulsification technique an ultrasound probe breaks the cloudy lens into tiny fragments. The fragments are vacuumed out through a tiny incision. An intraocular lens implant is then inserted to replace the natural lens that was removed. Because the incision is tiny, stitches are often not necessary and visual improvement is usually noted relatively soon after surgery. During the extracapsular technique the cataract is removed as one entire piece. This requires a larger incision and stitches. An intraocular lens implant (artificial lens) is inserted to replace the natural lens that was removed. Recovery is usually slower, due to the larger incision. The stitches sometimes need to be removed, which is usually done in the office. After both procedures, the surgeon usually places a patch over the eye.