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The word cataract is derived from the Greek word kataraktes, which refers to something that gushes or swoops down like a waterfall. How it came to be used to describe the opacification of the crystalline lens in the eye is not clear. Though cataract, as a condition that impairs vision was known since time immemorial, its first rational treatment was offered by the ancient Indian surgeon Sushruta (∼600 bc), in the operation of ‘couching’ wherein the opaque lens was dislocated posteriorly to fall in the vitreous cavity, with a fine instrument inserted into the eye. This procedure is widely depicted in ancient Indian and Egyptian art.
Modern cataract surgery began around 1747, when Jacques Daviel introduced the extracapsular method of extraction of the lens.1 This was a major advance but had limitations which included intraocular remnants of lens cortex and opacification of the capsule left behind. The next advance was the ‘intracapsular’ method of extraction of …
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