What You Need to Know Prior to Surgery
Cataract surgery is intended solely to remove the cataract, and does not correct other vision problems, such as those related to diabetes, glaucoma, or macular degeneration. However, in most cases, once the cataract has been removed, our cataract surgeon will replace the eye’s natural lens with an intraocular lens implant (IOL). This can often result in providing patients with better vision than they had before the cataract developed.
Prior to cataract surgery, if you regularly wear contact lenses, it is important for you to discontinue use for at least three weeks. This will allow your cornea to return to its natural shape, so that the doctor will be able to conduct a comprehensive pre-op examination to determine an accurate measurement for the power needed for your IOL.
What to expect on the day of surgery
To assure your comfort, sedation will be administered by an anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) using either drops or an injection (local anesthesia). The cataract surgery procedure is virtually painless, and it typically does not take long to complete. Your cataract surgeon will make a very small incision in the eye and, utilizing sound waves to break up the cataract, the pieces are vacuumed out through the tiny incision. Once removed, the surgeon inserts the IOL. Usually no stitches are needed and the incision will close naturally.
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, and takes only minutes to complete in most cases; however, you will be in the surgery center for about 1 ½ hours to allow time for preparation and recovery.
Our cataract surgeon will examine your eye the day after surgery. We will also have you return several times in the weeks that follow. During your recovery period, you will need to administer eye drops to help with the healing process. Your eye should be stable within 3-6 weeks, but normal daily activities can usually be resumed 2-3 days after surgery. Once your eye has stabilized, if your IOL of choice requires you to continue use of glasses or contacts, you will be provided an updated glasses prescription.
In most patients, the IOL power is calculated very accurately during the initial examination. However, in some rare cases, particularly in patients who are highly nearsighted, highly farsighted, or have had LASIK or other refractive surgeries prior to cataract surgery, a slight shift of the IOL can potentially cause a change in vision that is different than originally predicted. If this change is considerably different than expected, a replacement IOL may be necessary.
Each patient’s vision and personal preferences are different, so selecting the appropriate IOL for your cataract surgery is important. Please review the different intraocular lens implants available for further information about your surgical options.
If you have cataracts and need to explore your treatment options, or if you suspect that you may be developing cataracts, please contact us today to schedule a consultation.