What You Need to Know about Cataract Surgery

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A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye. It can cause vision loss that isn’t corrected with contact lenses or glasses. Cataracts may sound frightening but vision can be fixed with modern cataract surgery. The surgery can also reduce the dependence on eyeglasses.

Cataracts are common among older Americans and are associated with the aging process. Surgery for cataracts is one of the most effective and safest procedures performed today.

What Happens during Surgery?

During the surgery, the lens inside the eye that is cloudy is replaced with an artificial lens in order to restore vision. The surgery is done as an outpatient procedure and won’t require a stay overnight. Most of the modern procedures involve a high-frequency ultrasound device that will break up the cloudy lens into pieces. These pieces are suctioned out. The procedure can be performed with smaller incisions than previous techniques, which helps reduce the risk of complications and promote better healing. After the remnants of the cloudy lens are gone, the surgeon inserts a new lens and positions it behind the pupil and iris in the same location. The surgeon closes the incision and a protective shield is used over the eye.

Preparing for Surgery

Before cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist will perform an eye exam to check the overall health of the eyes and see if there are reasons why you may not have the surgery. A refraction will be done in order to measure the amount of farsightedness or nearsightedness you have before surgery. Additional measurements of your eyes are taken to determine the length and the corneal curvature. These measurements are important to make sure your surgeon selects the right lens to give you the best vision after your surgery. If you don’t mind having glasses after the surgery, then a monofocal lens implant is used. If you want to be less dependent on glasses after the surgery, then your surgeon needs to adjust your lenses. Not everyone may be a good candidate for this, and it can increase the cost. Before the surgery, you will be given a list of instructions for before, during, and after the procedure.

Recovery from Surgery

The surgery lasts about 15 minutes, as long as there are no issues. You should be at the center for 90 minutes since extra time is needed to prepare you. You will need to have someone drive you home after the surgery. You will be given medicated eye drops to use and you must use protective eye shields when you sleep for about a week. In order to protect your eyes from the light, you will be given some postoperative sunglasses. You will need to avoid strenuous activity and splashing water in the eye.