A small incision is made in the front surface of the eye with a scalpel or a laser. A circular hole is then cut in the front of the thin membrane (anterior capsule) that encloses the eye’s natural lens. Typically the lens is then broken into smaller pieces with a laser or an ultrasonic device so it can be removed easily from the eye. Once the entire lens is removed, it is replaced with a clear implant called an intraocular lens (IOL) to restore vision. In most cases, the eye heals quickly after surgery without stitches. Today, several steps in cataract surgery can be performed with a computer-controlled laser instead of hand-held instruments.