Cataract surgery is a simple, straightforward procedure that involves your clouded lens is replaced with an artificial alternative. It is extremely safe, but many people still have some concerns and experience anxiousness in the lead up to their appointment.
To help you feel calm and prepared for your cataract surgery, here is what you need to know about your pre and post-operative care.
There are numerous different things that your surgeon may ask you to do to help prepare you for your cataract surgery. These are important as they will reduce the likelihood that you will experience complications and improve the overall outcome of your procedure. Some of the things you can expect in the days and weeks before your cataract removal includes the following.
Carried out by your surgeon using a painless ultrasound scanning process, this involves measuring the size of your eye and determining the shape so that the right type and size of intraocular lens can be used to replace the natural lens of your eye. If you are having sedation, your surgeon will also ensure that you are a suitable candidate for this.
Some medications can interfere with surgical procedures, and for this reason, your surgeon will ask you about any that you take during your consultation for cataract surgery. If you take any medications that could increase your risk of bleeding, such as blood thinners, or if you take drugs for prostate problems, you may need to stop taking these ahead of your procedure.
You may be advised to fast for a minimum of 12 hours before your surgery. This is usually done if you are being sedated since it is often not advisable to combine sedative medications with food or drink.
You will not be able to drive until at least 24 hours after your cataract surgery so you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home after your procedure.
All being well, your cataract surgery should have been a fairly uneventful process and assuming there are no complications, the entire surgery should be completed in under an hour (although the surgery itself usually takes around 10-15 minutes). However, since you will have had anesthetic and/or sedation, it may take a short while for their effects to wear off. During this time, you may feel confused, disorientated and even a little nauseous. This is completely normal.
Once you are ready to be taken home by your designated driver, you will be given a special pair of sunglasses to wear irrespective of the weather. These are important as they will protect your newly sensitive eyes from bright light.
Immediately after your surgery, a protective shield will be placed over your eyes to keep dust and germs out of them while they heal, and to prevent you from accidentally touching them. Depending on the advice of your surgeon, it may be possible for you to remove this a short while after you return home. However, you will need to ensure that you tape it back into place when you sleep, whether that is a short nap during the day or when you go to bed at night. In most instances, you will be recommended to do this for at least 72 hours after your cataract surgery.
It may not be a surgery in the conventional sense of the word, but your eyes still need to heal and so you should make sure that you get plenty of rest to enable this to happen. Many people go home from their surgery and take a nap and are careful not to overexert themselves for a few days. You should refrain from taking part in any activity where your eyes are at risk until you are given the all-clear to by your surgeon.
Although you might feel completely normal within 24 hours of your cataract removal, you will still need to take some precautions with your eyes while they continue to heal. You will be given prescription antibiotic eyedrops to take to prevent infection, as well as anti-inflammatories. In some instances, patients might also be given prescription pain relief. You will be advised on how to clean and care for your eyes during your recovery, and which activities should be avoided, such as swimming and hot tubs. It is important to follow your surgeon’s advice to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome from your procedure.
The most important question of any patient is how long it will take for their vision to be restored. Every patient is unique and so exactly how soon your sight will return properly can vary. It can take some time for your body to adjust to the removal of the cataract and adapt to the new intraocular lens that has been used to replace the natural lens of your eye. While your vision may become significantly clearer within a few hours of your surgery, it is not unusual for patients to need several weeks for optimum clarity to be achieved.
If you have further questions about cataract surgery, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly, reassuring eye care team who will be delighted to assist you in any way that they can. Call our offices in Omaha, NE today on (402) 383-0780.