Extracapsular cataract surgery, either by planned extracapsular techniques or by phacoemulsification, achieves satisfactory visual results. Over the past 7 years there has been a progressive trend toward using phacoemulsification for cataract removal, although planned extracapsular procedures are still performed by many ophthalmologists. Phacoemulsification permits cataract removal through an incision that is approximately 2/3 smaller than with conventional extracapsular surgery. The benefits of small incision surgery include mechanical stability of the incision, rapid return to normal activities, and rapid visual functional rehabilitation. With advances in the techniques of phacoemulsification and the technological developments of phacoemulsification equipment, the results of the surgery have favored this method of cataract surgery. Phacoemulsification has also hastened the development of IOLs that enhance the benefits of the smaller incision. These include narrow profile PMMA IOLs and foldable lenses of silicone and acrylic materials.
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