A cataract is a common ophthalmic condition that is characterized by clouding of the lens in your eye that affects your vision. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness. Fortunately, cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure to restore your vision and improve your quality of life.
However, preparing for cataract surgery can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Here’s a guide to help you understand what to expect before, during, and after your cataract surgery.
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is characterized by the clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye, causing vision to become blurred or dimmed. This can affect one or both eyes. Over time, cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night), or even see the expression on a person’s face.
Cataract removal surgery is the primary treatment method for cataracts. During this procedure, the cloudy cataract lens is removed and replaced with a clear prosthetic intraocular lens (IOL). Various types of IOLs can be used depending on the specific needs of the patient:
- Monofocal IOLs: These lenses correct vision at a single distance. Most patients choose these to improve their distance vision.
- Multifocal IOLs: These lenses can correct near, intermediate, and distance vision. Many patients who choose multifocal IOLs no longer require vision correction lenses.
- Toric IOLs: These lenses can correct astigmatism.
Before the Surgery
Before surgery, you’ll meet with your ophthalmologist for a pre-operative exam. This is when the doctor will measure the size and shape of your eye. These measurements will help determine the right intraocular lens (IOL) type to replace your natural lens.
You may also need pre-operative tests, such as blood, urine, and an electrocardiogram (ECG), to ensure you are healthy enough for surgery.
You may be asked to temporarily stop taking certain medications and supplements that could increase your risk of bleeding during the procedure. Always discuss your current medications or supplements with your doctor. The night before surgery, you’ll need to fast, avoiding food and drink after midnight to prepare for anesthesia.
During the Surgery
Cataract surgery is typically an outpatient procedure, meaning you’ll go home the same day. Modern cataract surgery, often performed using a high-frequency ultrasound device, is considered relatively safe and effective.
During the procedure, the surgeon will numb your eye, make a tiny incision in the eye, and insert a thin probe. The probe emits ultrasound waves to break up the cloudy lens into small pieces, which are then gently removed. Once the cloudy lens has been removed, the clear artificial lens is inserted into the same incision.
Many clinics, like Miramar Eye Institute, offer bladeless treatment for cataracts using advanced surgical techniques with the LenSx® femtosecond laser for increased precision and accuracy.
Recovery And Aftercare
After your cataract surgery, you will need to rest for a few days. You should avoid strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting, bending, or twisting, and avoid rubbing or touching your eye.
You will also need to use prescribed eye drops to prevent infection and promote healing. For the first few days, you may experience some itching, discomfort, and mild pain in your eye, but you can use over-the-counter pain relief medication to help with discomfort. Your vision may be slightly blurry at first, but it should improve in the first few weeks.
Your doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment one or two days after your surgery to check your healing progress and remove your eye patch.
You may need several more follow-up appointments in the following weeks and months to monitor your vision. During your checkups, your doctor will also assess whether you need glasses or adjustments to your current lenses.
Cataract Eye Surgery in Miramar, FL
At Miramar Eye Institute, we specialize in a comprehensive range of eye care services, including LASIK, cataracts, refractive lens exchange, and treatments for various eye diseases.
Whether you’re seeking sharper vision or effective solutions for eye conditions like cataracts, our team of experts, led by Dr. Kenneth Karp and Dr. Lindsay Fuentes, is ready to provide exceptional care tailored to your unique needs.