Refractive Cataract Surgery

What is RCS ?

Refractive cataract surgery treats cloudy areas in the eye’s lens, improving vision by replacing it with an artificial lens. It corrects refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Phacoemulsification, using ultrasonic waves, breaks up the cloudy lens for removal through a small incision. This hour-long procedure is done under local anesthesia.

Refractive Cataract Surgery-1


There are several techniques that may be used in refractive cataract surgery to correct vision and remove cataracts. Some of the most common techniques include:

  • Phacoemulsification: This is the most commonly used technique for refractive cataract surgery. It involves making a small incision in the eye and using ultrasonic waves to break up the cloudy lens (cataract) into small pieces, which are then suctioned out of the eye.
  • Laser-assisted cataract surgery: In this technique, a laser is used to make precise incisions in the eye and to break up the cataract. The laser may also be used to shape the artificial lens (intraocular lens, or IOL) that will be implanted in the eye.
  • Extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE): This is an older technique that involves making a larger incision in the eye and removing the cataract in one piece. It is not commonly used today, as phacoemulsification is generally considered a safer and more precise method.
  • Small incision cataract surgery (SICS): This technique involves making a small incision in the eye and removing the cataract manually, using special tools. It is similar to phacoemulsification but requires less specialized equipment.

The specific technique used in refractive cataract surgery will depend on the patient’s individual needs and the preferences of the surgeon. All of these techniques can be effective in improving vision and treating cataracts.


  • Pre-surgery preparation: Before the surgery, the patient will undergo a thorough eye examination to assess their overall eye health and determine the best type of IOL for their needs. The patient may also be asked to stop taking certain medications or to arrange for transportation home after the surgery.
  • Anesthesia: The surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia, which numbs the area around the eye. The patient will be awake during the surgery but will not feel any pain.
  • Incision: The surgeon will make a small incision (cut) in the eye to access the cataract. The size and location of the incision will depend on the specific technique used.
  • Removing the cataract: The surgeon will use specialized instruments to carefully remove the cataract. This may involve breaking up the cataract into small pieces and suctioning them out of the eye.
  • Inserting the IOL: Once the cataract has been removed, the surgeon will insert the artificial lens (IOL) into the eye. The IOL is folded to fit through the small incision, and then it unfolds and settles into place once it is inside the eye.
  • Closing the incision: The surgeon will close the incision with sutures (stitches) or using a special type of glue. The stitches or glue will dissolve or be absorbed by the body over time.
  • Post-surgery care: After the surgery, the patient will be monitored for a short time and then released to go home. They will be given instructions on how to care for their eye and when to return for follow-up visits. Most people are able to return to their normal activities within a few days of the surgery.

Symptoms for RCS

  • Blurry or distorted vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions