What to Expect with Cataract Surgery
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in Americans over the age of 40, affecting roughly 22 million people. Folks gradually notice problems driving at night, seeing a computer monitor becomes more difficult, and their vision just isn’t as clear as it used to be. The change is subtle but becomes worse over time and some patients don’t even realize how bad their vision is because the change is so gradual. Before knowing what to expect with cataract surgery it is important to know what cataracts are, their causes, and symptoms, and treatment options.
Aging is the most common cause of cataracts but can also be caused by trauma, diabetes, prolonged exposure to UV light, some medications and smoking.
Symptoms include blurred or distorted vision and dullness in color. Glasses do not help. You might even notice your balance is off and depth perception has changed, plus an increased sensitivity to light. All these symptoms are due to the lens of the eye becoming cloudy and blocking light from entering the retina.
Cataracts are treated with a safe and effective surgical procedure by removing the cloudy lens causing your blurry vision and replacing it with a lens implant. Before deciding which treatment is best for you, learn what to expect with cataract surgery so your questions and concerns are addressed during your consultation with your doctor.
What to expect with Cataract Surgery
The safest, most precise, most gentle surgical solution for cataracts today is laser-assisted cataract surgery. Modern cataract surgery is safe, effective and offers improved refractive and visual outcomes. It is usually performed in less than one hour. Laser-assisted surgery offers no pain and quick recovery time. It is computer operated using the femtosecond laser and is the least invasive option for cataract surgery available. Use of the laser makes the procedure safer and more accurate.
Cataract Surgery Pre-Op visit
During your pre-op assessment, your doctor will go over what to expect with cataract surgery. Your pre-operative assessment will help you and your doctor determine:
- Cataracts are the cause of your declining vision.
- The degree of declining vision due to cataracts, and if surgery will significantly improve your vision.
- Your general health. Are you able to tolerate anesthesia and surgery?
- Do you have adequate care after your surgery?
- To rule out systemic disease, like diabetes, as the culprit of your declining vision.
During your visit, you will be asked about your past eye medical conditions. Have you had any past trauma to your eyes? Do you have glaucoma? Any previous eye surgeries are also important to discuss with your doctor at this time in order to plan for your surgery and choose the very best procedure for your benefit.
Your surgeon will also want to decide which Intraocular cataract lens will be best for your vision after your surgery.
Intraocular Cataract Lenses (IOLs)
IOLs are artificial lenses used to replace the natural lens that is removed during cataract surgery. IOLs help your eye focus without depending entirely on thick glasses or contact lenses.
Alcon PanOptix trifocal IOL
The Alcon PanOptix trifocal is the newest lens available, using technology to lessen your dependence on glasses for near, intermediate, and far distance.
Toric IOLs are premium lenses used to correct near and farsightedness, as well as astigmatism.
Multifocal lenses, like ReSTOR® are used to widen your field of vision. Multifocal lenses allow patients to see near, far, and everything in-between.
Once you are diagnosed with cataracts by your ophthalmologist, you will be asked to visit your primary care doctor for a history and physical to confirm you are in optimal health before your procedure.
During Cataract Surgery
- Your pupils will be dilated with drops.
- You will be given local anesthesia and a sedative.
- Your cataract will be softened and removed, then replaced with a new IOL, or artificial lens.
Cataract Surgery Post-Operative
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. The surgery is very fast and recovery time is a little longer. The healthier you are the faster you will recover.
You may notice some blurry or distorted vision while your eyes adjust to the new lens, this is normal. The adjustment time varies among patients. Some have sharper vision in a day, others notice a gradual improvement over a few days or even a few weeks.
Plan to rest after surgery for an hour while the effects of the anesthesia wear off. Someone will need to drive you home. You will wear sunglasses for the ride home and may experience light sensitivity. You will need to take it easy for a few days after surgery, keeping your head above your waist.
You may have bloodshot eyes after surgery. This is also normal and will clear up in a few days.
Follow your eye surgeons advice, and keep your follow-up appointment the day after your surgery to make sure there are no problems.
Cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to improve your vision. Most individuals who have cataract surgery wish they had done it sooner. They see more vibrant colors and see everything more clearly. To schedule a FREE CATARACT SCREENING at LaserCare Eye Center to find out if you have cataracts, or learn more about what to expect with cataract surgery please contact us today at 214-328-0444