Cataract surgery is a standard procedure to treat and eliminate the side effects caused by cataracts. Some of these side effects include blurry vision and increased glare from lights. Many explain cataracts as a similar view from looking out of a cloudy window. Unfortunately, these issues can affect your everyday living, and if it creates difficulty in normal activities, we may recommend cataract surgery.
How to Prepare Before the Procedure
Cataract surgery is typically a safe procedure, but there are things you need to know beforehand. Before the surgery, you will meet with your doctor for a painless ultrasound to measure the shape and size of your eye. This will then determine the proper lens implant needed to replace your cataracts. In most instances, you can expect to receive an intraocular lens. This is a permanent vision solution that will replace your natural lens. You won’t be able to see or feel the lens. Since it becomes a permanent part of your eye, there is no required care for the lens.
If you have any further underlying health issues, like diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor may want to require you to be at healthy/stable levels before moving forward with your procedure. You may also be prescribed an antibiotic or anti-inflammatory eye drops before your surgery. In addition, your doctor may advise that food or liquids can’t be consumed up to 12 hours before the procedure.
Since your vision will be blurry post-surgery, having a designated ride from the hospital will be required.
During the Procedure
The procedure usually ranges from about an hour to perform. First, eye drops will be placed to dilate your pupils, and you will receive local anesthesia to numb the area. You may be given a sedative to help you relax as well.
During the procedure, cataracts are removed and replaced with an artificial lens. The removal can be done in two different ways. The first way can be using an ultrasound probe to break up the lens for removal. This is done by creating a small incision in the cornea and inserting a needle-thin probe into the lens substance where the cataract is located. Your surgeon will then use ultrasound waves to break up the cataract. Stitches may be used on the cornea after the procedure.
The second option is making a small eye incision and removing the cataract lens in one piece. This procedure is less common due to the requirement of a larger incision in the eye. Surgical tools are used to remove the front capsule through the incision. Stitches are required post-surgery.
Your vision is expected to return to normal after a few weeks of recovery after adjusting and healing. Since you are looking through a brand-new lens, colors may seem much brighter, and you can be more sensitive to light. You can also expect a few follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor a proper recovery. Itching and minor irritation will also occur during the healing process, but avoiding touching and rubbing your eyes is best.
Your doctor may recommend an eye shield for a week after the procedure. This will be used as a protective shield while you sleep during recovery. Your doctor may also prescribe eye drops or other medications to prevent infections from occurring. After a few days of recovery, discomfort should minimize, and a full recovery is expected after eight weeks.
Are you a Candidate for Cataract Surgery?
Most doctors recommend cataract surgery when your vision affects everyday activities like driving or reading. To be a proper candidate for this procedure, visit your doctor for an eye exam and possible cataract diagnosis. You will undergo a series of tests and exams to analyze proper eye health and detect any issues.