Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions in the world and a leading cause of blindness. Although they can develop at any age, they are most common in people over 65, occurring when age-related changes in the lens of the eye causeit to turn cloudy. The definitive treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery. Tthere are around 4 million cataract surgeries performed in the United States every year. Here’s everything you need to know before, during and after cataract surgery.
The first step of getting cataract surgery is to receive a consultation with your ophthalmologist, during which he or she discuss your individual goals with surgery. During the appointment, you will have an examination which will be used to assess the stage of your cataracts. Your surgeon will talk to you about how severely your eyesight is affected and will confirm if you are a good candidate for the procedure. He or she will also discuss:
The risks and benefits of surgery
The different options for lens implants
The likelihood that you need glasses after surgery
The recovery and what to expect
If you are currently using one eye for distance vision and the other for close-up vision, known as monovision, you can request your new lens implants be focused in the same way.
Cataract surgery is performed under local anesthetic, which is administered with light sedation, meaning that surgery is painless, and you remain comfortable and relaxed throughout the procedure. It usually takes less than a half hour, and you can go home the same day.
During cataract surgery, a tiny incision is made into the eye to remove the clouded lens. The same incision is then used to insert your new, artificial lens implant which is called an intraocular lens or IOL for short. The type of IOL you receive will be decided at your consultation appointment, and your cataract surgeon will help determine which option is best one for you.
There’s typically no need for sutures, and after a brief waiting period after your surgery, you’ll be able to go home. You’ll need someone to drive you and get you settled in. Although there are some risks associated with cataract surgery, these are extremely low, especially when you choose a skilled and experienced cataract surgeon.
Unsurprisingly, your vision in the treated eye will be blurred immediately after your cataract surgery, and will remain this way over the first few days while your eyes heal. During this time your eye may feel sore, irritated and watery. It may also look a little red. This is normal and should start to improve within a few days. it can take up to 6 weeks for your eye to heal fully.
You’ll be given information and instructions for after-surgery care which you should follow. Doing so will help minimize your risk of complications and accelerate your recovery. If you have any concerns at any stage of your recovery, it’s advisable to speak to your cataract surgery team right away.
If you would like more information about cataract surgery and what to expect, or if you would like to schedule a consultation to see if you are a good candidate for surgery, please contact our dedicated eyecare team! Call North Texas Ophthalmology Associates at (940) 723-1274 to reach our office in Wichita Falls, Texas.