A cataract is a medical condition where a cloudy area forms in the eye lens and makes your vision blurry. This condition requires cataract surgery, a procedure where the cloudy lens is removed from the eye and replaced with an artificial one. With modern technology, surgery can be done fast and with minimal discomfort. Here is what to expect from the procedure:
When To Get Surgery
A cataract does not always mean you will need surgery. Some people can see well using magnifying lenses or a prescription. But if the cataract continues to grow and you start to have blurred vision, double vision, or it starts interfering with your daily routine, you may need surgery. Your doctor may recommend surgery if the cataract is too large and is increasing pressure in the eye.
The type of cataract procedure depends on the condition of your eye. Your doctor may recommend phacoemulsification (phaco) surgery, which involves a small incision to remove the cataract. Extracapsular surgery may be recommended when the cataract is cloudy and hard to break with phaco. Your doctor may suggest laser-assisted surgery instead of a scalpel for minor cataracts.
What To Expect Before Surgery
Before your surgery, your doctor will examine your eye. It helps to assess the condition and determine the appropriate eye lens implant. You may be requested to stop taking certain medications, avoid alcohol for several hours, and begin antibiotic eye drops to reduce your risk of an aftercare infection.
During this time, the doctor will select the eye lens best suited for your vision. You will not feel or see the new lenses once they become a permanent part of your eyes. You cannot drive after surgery, so arrange your transportation home.
What To Expect During Surgery
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. The eye and surrounding area are numbed with local anesthesia. You will be awake during the surgery but not feel or see what’s happening to your eye. The surgeon will make tiny incisions and use ultrasound technology to break up the cloudy lens and replace it with a new one.
There is no need for stitches in most cases, as the eye will heal naturally. Before you are sent to the recovery room, your surgeon will cover the eye with a shield to protect it while it heals. The procedure usually takes just a few minutes. Most people encounter minimal discomfort during the procedure. If you have two cataracts, you will need two separate surgeries. They are usually scheduled two weeks apart to give the first eye a chance to heal.
What To Expect After Surgery
You will need a few hours to rest after the procedure. Your vision will be blurry at first as you adjust to a new lens. Your doctor will prescribe eye drops to reduce inflammation and prevent infection.
You may experience eye itching, feel sore for a few days, and find it hard to see well under bright light. It’s normal to have mild redness and a bloodshot eye a few days after the procedure.
Most people experience improved vision after surgery. Objects and colors may appear more bright, sharp, and defined. How much your vision improves depends on several factors, including the eye’s health, the cataract’s severity, and the type of eye lens implanted.
Side Effects To Expect After Cataract Surgery
Side effects are rare in cataract procedures, but some of them include:
- Eye swelling or infection
- Retinal detachment
- Drooping eyelid
- A temporary rise in eye pressure hours after surgery
Sometimes after cataract removal, things may start to look cloudy again. This happens because the lens capsule holding your new artificial lens in place starts to thicken. The problem may happen months or years after the surgery. Your doctor may suggest YAG capsulotomy, a cataract surgery that takes minutes and is painless to fix the problem. The surgeon will use a laser to open the capsule, let more light into your artificial lens, and clear up the cloudy vision.
Find a Reliable Ophthalmologist Today
Cataract surgery does not have to be an intimidating procedure. Search for a qualified ophthalmologist with prior experience removing cataracts. They can discuss the best treatment plan and help you learn what steps you need to take to improve your vision.