The sutureless technique

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
During cataract surgery, after the cataract is removed from the eye, an incision is made to insert the artificial, intraocular (in-truh-OCK-you-lur) implant lens, known as the IOL (I-O-L). Different lenses require different-sized incisions to be made in the eye. Smaller incisions have paved the way for a single-suture (SOO-cher) or sutureless technique for closing them. Foldable lens implants permit smaller incisions during cataract surgery and are less traumatic to the eye. Closure of the opening-- or wound, as it's called-- has become a highly-publicized issue in cataract surgery ads. Advertisements for one-stitch or no-stitch surgery imply that eye surgeons who use these techniques are a cut above the rest, but the majority of all eye surgeons today routinely perform one-stitch or no-stitch surgery. The theoretical advantages of using no sutures are that the procedure entails less intervention and exposes the eye to fewer foreign bodies that can cause irritation or infection. In addition, postoperative astigmatism is less likely without sutures to pull on the wound as it heals. Most small incision wounds don't need to be sutured, but many surgeons put one in anyway, as a precaution. However, procedures involving a larger surgical incision must be closed using many more sutures. Recuperation from these procedures is usually longer, with a greater chance for astigmatism. A foldable, posterior chamber lens can be inserted into the eye through an incision that is self-healing and doesn't require sutures. With these type of lenses, the implant sits in its natural position, and the pupil can be dilated without any problems.

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