It is difficult to imagine a cataract operation in the ancient world, even before anesthesia was invented. However, it has been performed for centuries, let us see how it has evolved throughout history up to the present day.

Cataract operation in ancient Egypt

In order to remove the blurred vision 4000 years ago, the Egyptians introduced their first technique, known as the Reclining Technique.

Reclining was not the only method used to remove cataracts. In the second century, a Greek doctor actually removed the cloudy lens from the eye. To do this he inserted a bronze instrument and removed the cloudy lens from the eye.

First cataract extractions

The methods invented in antiquity were used for centuries.

John II, father of Fernando the Catholic, lost the sight of both his eyes during his reign.

Leridano Abiabar, a Jewish doctor, performed an operation that restored his sight, first in his right eye and a month later in his left eye.

The technique used was known as Crystalline Reclination, which consisted of introducing a needle into the eye and with a movement detaching the opaque crystalline lens and sending it to the vitreous.

Even today this technique is still used in regions of Africa and Asia.

It was not until 1748 when the Frenchman Jacques Daviel introduced the extra-capsular technique, starting from the traditional method, making an incision in the lower part of the cornea to extract the rest of the crystalline lens by compressing the eye with a bandage.

Progress and Technology

In the middle of the 20th century, the use of an intraocular lens was introduced during cataract operations.

Using a material called polymethyl methacrylate, Dr. Harold Ridley attempted to replace the internal lenses of the eye in cataract patients. Although this technique was not as successful as expected, Ridley introduced the idea of lens replacement, a method that would change the course of history.

In 1967 Dr. Charles Kelman developed a well-known process called Phacoemulsification, a technique that used ultrasonic vibrations to break up cataracts into smaller segments.

However, although this process was useful for removing cataracts, experts were looking for an effective way to replace the lens.

That’s when in 1978 Dr. Kai-yi Zhou made the first folding eye implant made of silicone so that it could be bent and made possible to insert it.

One of the greatest discoveries in the world of ophthalmology was in 1981 when Dr. Patricia Bath invented the LaserPhaco Probe which used light energy to remove cataracts. It was completed in 1986 and patented in 1988.

This invention helped Dr. Bath restore vision to patients who had suffered from cataracts for more than three decades.

Cataract surgery today

Almost everyone, if you live long enough, ends up suffering from cataracts. That’s why millions of people today suffer from cataracts. Fortunately, thanks to research and advances in technology and techniques, lenses are now available that provide a 98% success rate.

Cataract surgery is one of the most common operations performed at the Vistalaser Ophthalmological Clinics in Malaga, Marbella, Fuengirola and Granada.

Like always, we are committed to the most advanced technologies, and in this case it is the multifocal intraocular lenses made with the femtosecond laser technique, one of the most precise lasers available, which allows us to offer the patient refractive surgery.

Please contact one of our clinics for more information

If you notice that your vision is blurred due to cataracts, our team can help you improve your quality of life. For more information about cataract surgery, contact our office.