Cataract removal is one of the most common operations performed in the United States. It also is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery. In about 90 percent of cases, people who have cataract surgery have better vision afterward.
A week or two before surgery, the Suggs Eye Center team will preform some tests. These tests may include measuring the curve of the cornea and the size and shape of your eye. This information helps the Suggs Eye Center team choose the right type of lens to use in replacement. You will not be able eat or drink anything 12 hours before your surgery. You will be prescribed eye drops to use before the surgery.
At the hospital, drops will be put into your eye to dilate the pupil. The area around your eye will be washed and cleansed. The operation usually lasts less than 30 minutes and is almost painless. We lightly sedate our patients for surgery. After the operation, a patch may be placed over your eye. You will rest for a while. Your medical team will watch for any problems, such as bleeding. Most people who have cataract surgery can go home the same day. You will need someone to drive you home.
Itching and mild discomfort are normal after cataract surgery. Some fluid discharge is also common. Your vision will be blurry at first. Your eye may be sensitive to light and touch. If you have discomfort, the Suggs Eye Center team can suggest treatment. After one or two days, moderate discomfort should disappear. For a few days after surgery, the Suggs Eye Center team may ask you to use eye drops, unless you choose dropless surgery, to help healing and decrease the risk of infection. See your instructions from the Suggs Eye Center team on how to use your eye drops. You will need to wear an eye shield or eyeglasses to help protect your eye. Avoid rubbing or pressing on your eye. When you are home, try not to bend from the waist to pick up objects on the floor. Do not lift any heavy objects. You can walk, climb stairs, and do light household chores. In most cases, healing will be complete within eight weeks. The Suggs Eye Center team will schedule exams to check on your progress.
No, you will need a designated driver! For the first couple of hours your eyes will be sensitive to light and the vision blurred, so you should wear the special dark glasses that we provide.
You can return quickly to many everyday activities, but your vision may be blurry. The healing eye needs time to adjust so that it can focus properly with the other eye, especially if the other eye has a cataract. Ask the Suggs Eye Center team when you can resume driving. If you received an IOL, you may notice that colors are very bright. The IOL is clear, unlike your natural lens that may have had a yellowish/brownish tint. Within a few months after receiving an IOL, you will become used to improved color vision. Also, when your eye heals, you may need new glasses or contact lenses.
Problems after surgery are rare, but they can occur. These problems can include infection, bleeding, inflammation (pain, redness, swelling), loss of vision, double vision, and high or low eye pressure. With prompt medical attention, these problems can usually be treated successfully. Sometimes the eye tissue that encloses the IOL becomes cloudy and may blur your vision. This condition is called an after-cataract. An after-cataract can develop months or years after cataract surgery. An after-cataract is treated with a laser. The Suggs Eye Center team uses a laser to make a tiny hole in the eye tissue behind the lens to let light pass through. This outpatient procedure is called a YAG laser. It is painless and rarely results in increased eye pressure or other eye problems. As a precaution, the Suggs Eye Center team may give you eye drops to lower your eye pressure before or after the procedure.
As with any surgery, cataract surgery poses risks, such as infection and bleeding. Before cataract surgery, the Suggs Eye Center team may ask you to temporarily stop taking certain medications that increase the risk of bleeding during surgery. After surgery, you must keep your eye clean, wash your hands before touching your eye, and use the prescribed medications to help minimize the risk of infection. Serious infection can result in loss of vision. Cataract surgery slightly increases your risk of retinal detachment. Other eye disorders, such as high myopia (nearsightedness), can further increase your risk of retinal detachment after cataract surgery. One sign of a retinal detachment is a sudden increase in flashes or floaters. Floaters are little "cobwebs" or specks that seem to float about in your field of vision. If you notice a sudden increase in floaters or flashes, see an eye care professional immediately. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency. If necessary, go to an emergency service or hospital. An eye surgeon must examine your eye as soon as possible. A retinal detachment causes no pain. Early treatment for retinal detachment often can prevent permanent loss of vision. The sooner you get treatment, the more likely you will regain good vision. Even if you are treated promptly, some vision may be lost.
The symptoms of early cataract may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. A cataract needs to be removed only when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV. You and your eye care professional can make this decision together. Once you understand the benefits and risks of surgery, you can make an informed decision about whether cataract surgery is right for you. In most cases, delaying cataract surgery will not cause long-term damage to your eye or make the surgery more difficult. You do not have to rush into surgery. Sometimes a cataract should be removed even if it does not cause problems with your vision. For example, a cataract should be removed if it prevents examination or treatment of another eye problem, such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. If your eye care professional finds a cataract, you may not need cataract surgery for several years. In fact, you might never need cataract surgery. By having your vision tested regularly, you and your eye care professional can discuss if and when you might need treatment. If you choose surgery, your eye care professional may refer you to a specialist to remove the cataract. If you have cataracts in both eyes that require surgery, the surgery will be performed on each eye at separate times, usually eight weeks apart. Many people who need cataract surgery also have other eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma. If you have other eye conditions in addition to cataract, talk with your doctor. Learn about the risks, benefits, alternatives, and expected results of cataract surgery.
Patients can typically return to normal activity within a couple of days. The first week after LASIK you will be on eye drops which are antibiotics. It is very important to avoid rubbing your eyes, wear a pair of UV protecting sunglasses when outdoors to protect your eyes from dust, strong sunlight and allergens, avoid swimming underwater for at least one week, do not wear eye makeup for at least one week.