Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States and globally. Cataract surgery is performed to treat cataracts, a condition that affects the clear lens located just behind the iris of the eye. When cataracts develop, the lens becomes inflexible and cloudy causing impaired and blurry vision.
While cataracts are more common among older adults, children and young adults can also have cataracts due to congenital disorders or other medical conditions.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explain cataract surgery in detail including the procedure, risks and benefits, and recovery timeline.
Cataract surgery is a type of eye surgery in which a cataract (cloudy lens of one or both eyes) is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens. There are different types of artificial intraocular lenses available based on focusing powers. Your ophthalmologist can help you select the type of artificial lens that is best for you.
The surgical procedure is quick and often performed as an outpatient procedure with a fast recovery.
Cataract Surgery Procedure
To perform cataract surgery, your surgeon will first use topical anesthesia in the form of eye drops to numb the surface of the eye. You can also expect to receive medications that will help you stay relaxed.
Next, your surgeon will make a very small incision in your cornea to reach the lens. Then, they will use ultrasound waves to break up the lens into small pieces and then suction up those pieces through a vacuum, a procedure known as phacoemulsification. The lens capsule (back of the lens) is not removed so that the new artificial lens can sit in place on top of it.
Next, your surgeon will insert an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) through the same incision. Because the incision is so small, no stitches are needed. Once the procedure is done your doctor will tape a shield over your eye to protect it.
In some rare cases, an ophthalmologist may use a procedure called extracapsular cataract extraction. During the procedure, they use a surgical tool to make a large incision and remove the front capsule of the lens and the cloudy lens that has cataracts. Since this procedure involves making larger incisions, stitches are required.
The entire cataract surgery procedure takes anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes, and you will be monitored for 15 to 30 minutes following the procedure.
Benefits and Risks of Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is the only way to get rid of cataracts and regain clear vision. Surgery makes your vision sharper, and clearer and allows you to see colors more vividly. In addition, those who undergo cataract surgery rely less on glasses and experience less glare when looking at bright lights.
Even though cataract surgery is a safe procedure, it still carries some risks which are usually higher in people who have certain eye diseases or medical conditions. Possible risks of cataract surgery include
- Blurred vision
- Vision loss
- Ongoing eye pain
- Visual disturbances such as glares, halos, and shadows
- Retinal detachment
- Posterior capsular opacification is a condition in which the membrane that holds the intraocular lens becomes cloudy
- IOL displacement
It is pertinent to mention here that these complications are rare, and an ophthalmologist can treat most of these complications if they arise.
Recovery After Cataract Surgery
While most people often notice an improvement in their vision within a few days of surgery, a full recovery from cataract surgery takes four weeks. During the recovery period, there should be little pain or discomfort. Your ophthalmologist will provide expert advice on how to take care of yourself at home.
Here are some general tips that your ophthalmologist may advise:
- Use eye drops as recommended
- Do not put pressure on your eyes or rub them
- Do not get shampoo, water, or soap in your eyes
- Wear sunglasses when you go outside
- Wear an eye shield while sleeping
It’s a good idea to ask your surgeon when you can drive, swim, exercise, bend over, lift heavy objects, wear makeup, and return to work or other activities.
Cataract Eye Surgery in Miramar FL
If you think you might have cataracts and are looking for a compassionate and board-certified ophthalmologist who regularly performs cataract surgeries with successful outcomes, visit us here at Miramar Eye Institute. Our ophthalmologist proudly offers bladeless treatment for cataracts with advanced surgical techniques using LenSx® femtosecond laser, which uses a computer guidance system for increased precision and accuracy.
To schedule an appointment with our ophthalmologist, contact us today by calling (954) 437-4316. You can also fill out our form to request an appointment. We look forward to restoring and enhancing your vision!