If you are one of the millions of people needing cataract surgery this year, you want to know what to expect before, during, and after your cataract surgery. Believe it or not, cataract surgery goes all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, when “doctors” would use a needle to slide the cloudy lens, that is a cataract, out of the line of sight. Not the perfect solution to say the least and results were likely quite mixed since the lens of the eye was not actually being replaced. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way. Cataract surgery today is relatively common and considered to be quite safe. If you or someone you love is considering undergoing cataract surgery, here’s what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.
What to Know Before Cataract Surgery
If you didn’t already know – cataract surgery is the process of removing the cloudy lens in your eye and replacing it with an IOL or intraocular lens. Typically, about a week before the procedure, your doctor will do an ultrasound to accurately measure the size and shape of your eye to determine what type of IOL is right for you. There are different types of IOLs, and your doctor will discuss which one is the most appropriate in your case.
Your doctor may advise you not to eat or drink anything 12 hours prior to surgery and to refrain from taking any medications that might increase the risk of bleeding during the procedure. You may also be prescribed antibiotic eyedrops a few days before your surgery.
What to Know During Cataract Surgery
The surgery itself is typically an outpatient procedure that can take around half an hour but expect to be at the facility for 2 to 3 hours. The doctor will dilate your pupil and you’ll receive local anesthesia to numb the area. You may receive a mild sedative to relax you, but you are typically awake during the surgery. Once the doctor removes the cloudy lens, the IOL is implanted.
Your vision will be blurry after surgery, so you should arrange for someone to drive you home and you’ll want to avoid strenuous activity. Your vision will start to improve in just a few days. You will likely see your doctor a day or two after the procedure and then a week later. You may feel some itching or discomfort for a few days, so it is important not to rub your eye. Your doctor may prescribe eye drops and advise you to wear an eye patch or protective shield during recovery.
In approximately 1-3 months, your eyes will have fully healed, and your doctor will determine a final eyeglass prescription for you. It’s important to contact your doctor immediately if you experience vision loss, persistent pain, eyelid swelling, light flashes or new spots in front of your eye. For more information about cataract surgery or to schedule a routine eye exam, contact the caring professionals at Tyson Eye. We’re committed to helping you care for the things you see the world with. Contact us today to learn more.