What should I expect before surgery?
Before deciding to have Cataract surgery, you will need an initial examination to make sure your eyes are suitable for surgery. Your doctor will take a complete history about your medical and eye health and perform a thorough examination of both eyes.
If you wear contact lenses, your doctor may ask you to stop wearing them before your initial examination (from the day of to a few weeks before), so that your refraction (measure of how much your eye bends light) and central keratometry readings (measure of how much the cornea curves) are more accurate.
At this time, your doctor will ask you if you:
- Take any medications, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins and other supplements
- Have any allergies
- Have had any eye conditions
- Have undergone any previous eye surgery
- Have any medical conditions.
Deciding to have Surgery
To help you decide whether Cataract surgery is right for you, your doctor and you will thoroughly discuss your expectations and whether there are elements of your medical history, eye history, or eye examination that might increase your risk or prevent you from having the outcome you expect. Your doctor will discover and then conclude:
- Whether you are a good candidate,
- What are the risks, benefits and alternatives of the surgery
- What you should expect before, during and after surgery
- What your responsibilities will be before, during and after surgery.
Before your surgery, your doctor will measure the eye and calculate the power of lens that you will need. You must not eat or drink after midnight on the day of surgery.
Before your surgery, your doctor may ask you to temporarily stop taking certain medications that increase the risk of bleeding during surgery. How long before surgery you may need to stop these medications depends upon which medications you are using and the conditions they are treating. You and your doctor may need to discuss stopping certain medications with the doctor who prescribed them, since you may need some of these medications to prevent life-threatening events. For example, you may need medications that stop blood clotting to keep from having a stroke.
What should I expect during surgery?
The surgery usually lasts less than 30 minutes and is generally painless. Many people choose to stay awake during surgery, while others may need to be put to sleep for a short time. If you are awake, you will have an anesthetic to numb the nerves in and around your eye. You will not have to worry about holding your eye open because an instrument known as a lid speculum will hold your lids open. You will likely see light and movement during surgery, but the eye usually is not uncomfortable.
Your doctor will first administer a comfortable topical anesthetic which will completely numb the eye. Next a small incision is created, then an ultrasonic probe is used to shatter and remove the cataract.
Once the cataract is removed, your new intra-ocular lens (IOL) is introduced into the eye. The incision is then sealed and the procedure is complete.
With advanced cataract surgery, most patients return to their daily routines soon after surgery. Cataract surgery's permanent results often allow patients to enjoy better vision than they had before cataracts developed.
What should I expect after surgery?
After the surgery is over, you may be brought to a recovery room for a couple of hours before you will be allowed to go home. To avoid the possibility of complications, it is important to adhere to the following post-operative guidelines:
Although patients are advised to eat only a light meal following surgery, a normal diet may be resumed the day after surgery.