Cataract surgery involves removing the natural human lens inside the eye behind the pupil which has become cloudy or hazy and replacing the lens with an intraocular lens. Almost all cataract surgery is performed using a highly advanced computer run machine using phacoemulsification. An incision is made in the clear portion of the eye called the cornea adjacent to the white part of the eye. An opening in the capsule that surrounds the lens is made. The phacoemulsification needle is then inserted into the eye and the needle dissolves the lens and is aspirated out of the eye. An intraocular lens is then placed inside the capsule that held the natural lens.
What is Phacoemulsification?
Phacoemulsification is the term used for the procedure in which the cloudy lens or cataract is emulsified or dissolved using ultrasound. Phacoemulsification machines such as the Alcon Infiniti have a blunt tip needle that vibrates thousands of times a second. This ultrasonic vibration emulsifies or dissolves the lens and the machine is designed to aspirate the dissolved lens material out of the eye.
How are the Phacoemulsification Machines Designed?
The phacoemulsification system is designed with a blunt tip needle which is positioned inside a silicone sleeve. This is connected to a handpiece shaped like a cigar or thick pencil which contains the ultrasound producing portion of the system. Two tubes are connected to this handpiece. One tube is for aspirating fluid from the eye and is attached to the main machine. The computerized machine controls all the parameters of how much fluid is aspirated from the eye, the speed of aspiration, and the vacuum levels used to remove fluid from the eye. The other tubing is connected to a bottle of sterile solution and the flow of fluid into the eye is controlled by the height of the bottle. The Infiniti machine is run by a computer and the surgeon can set the parameters to what they prefer. The setting can be changed according to the severity of the cataract. The machine is controlled by a foot petal during the surgery.
The Infiniti OZI® Torsional handpiece is the only Phaco device that produces side-to-side oscillating ultrasonic movement. This helps to reduce repulsion of lens material, improves the followability of lens material into the needle tip, and operates at cooler temperatures.
The Infiniti features customized power modulations that can change the pulse rates.
Fluid Control Inside the Eye with the Alcon Infiniti Machine
The Infiniti Vision System allows the surgeon to set the parameters of fluid going into the eye and aspirating fluid out of the eye. It allows for vacuum levels up to 600 through an elastomer membrane and decreases surge and pulsing of fluid inside the eye. By decreasing fluid surge inside the eye, the Intrepid® Plus FMS gives the surgeon confidence in performing cataract surgery. The vacuum levels are well controlled with advanced pressure and onset sensing of the needle occluding with lens material. Precise pump performance gives greater control during the cataract procedure. This helps keep the eye formed properly and the structures inside the eye stable.
Cataract surgery is a delicate microscopic operation inside the eye. Controlling the fluid flowing into the eye and the aspiration of the fluid and dissolved lens material out of the eye is extremely important in regards to the quality of the outcome from cataract surgery. When the cataract is being removed and the phaco needle is emulsifying the cataract, the amount of ultrasonic power, vacuum levels, and aspiration rate must be controlled in a precise manner.