According to American Academy of Ophthalmology, 50 million people are expected to have cataracts by 2050.
Know before you go! Here is what you can expect with cataract surgery.
What is Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries in the United States. Cataract surgery is undertaken when the cataract begins to interfere with a patient’s quality of life or visual functioning. The cloudy lens is removed surgically and the artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted.
Did You Know?
- 18 million cataract surgeries are performed worldwide each year.
- Cataracts CANNOT be removed with LASIK.
- 95% of patients report much improved vision following cataract surgery.
- Complications following cataract surgery are less than 2% nationwide.
- Very good surgeons have complication rates less than 1%.
- Those with astigmatism may be candidates for refractive cataract surgery, and have both conditions corrected with one procedure, optimizing visual outcomes.
What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
Cataracts can progress to the point of complete loss of vision. They can lead to various visual complaints, such as:
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Difficulty reading, seeing up close, engaging in activities like knitting, word puzzles, card games, etc.
- Difficulty seeing road signs; glare when driving at dusk, at night or on rain-slicked roads
- Increased dependency on prescription glasses; frequent changes in glasses prescription
- Bothered by bright sunlight, bright indoor lights, fluorescent lights
What to Expect Before Cataract Surgery
You will need to see an ophthalmologist, a medical doctor who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of conditions related to the eye, who has advanced knowledge in identifying and treating cataracts. He or she will be able to diagnose the condition through examination and testing. Make sure your surgeon has experience and an excellent success rate with a wide variety of advanced technology options.
When you meet with your ophthalmologist you may be asked about any medicines you take. You might be asked not to take some of these medicines before surgery.
You may be prescribed eye drop medicines to start before surgery. These medicines help prevent infection and reduce swelling during and after surgery.
What does Cataract Surgery Entail?
Modern cataract surgery uses cutting-edge laser technology and ultrasound technology, with a micro-incision that doesn’t require stitches. Most surgeries are typically done on an outpatient basis, using mild sedation and local anesthesia.
- Your eye will be numbed with eye drops or with an injection around the eye. You may also be given a medicine to help you relax.
- You will be awake during surgery. You may see light and movement during the procedure, but you will not see or feel what the doctor is doing to your eye.
- The cataract is removed through a small corneal incision using ultrasound energy. This process is called phacoemulsification.
- Usually your surgeon will not need to stitch the incision closed. The incision eventually will close over time.
- The surgery can take from 10 to 30 minutes, and patients are typically at the surgery center for three to four hours.
- A shield will be placed over your eye to protect it while you heal from surgery.
Is the Surgery Painful?
Eye drops are used to numb the eye and it would be exceedingly rare to experience any discomfort. Following surgery, patients may experience dry eye or a slight burning sensation, but these symptoms typically go away after a few days.
What to Expect After Cataract Surgery
- You will need someone to drive you home from the procedure. Most patients are driving and back to work in one to two days.
- You will be seen for a postoperative visit the following day.
- You will begin an eye drop regimen that lasts four to six weeks. During that time, it is recommended that you avoid vigorous activity including heavy lifting or bending. You also need to avoid itching/rubbing the eye so that it can heal properly.
Additional visits are typically scheduled for one week and one month post-surgery. If both eyes require surgery, they are typically scheduled two to three weeks apart.
Even though there is no surgery, technology or technique that guarantees results, most patients enjoy improved overall vision after cataract surgery. A small percentage (less than 10%) of patients continue to have some dependency on glasses.
See what you’re missing. Discover advanced surgical eye care. Trust ZiekerEye Ophthalmology for effective solutions to cataracts, glaucoma and refractive vision problems. Call us at 518.450.1080 or use our convenient online, Request an Appointment, form to contact our scheduling team.