Your vision has degraded to the point that your eye doctor has recommended cataract surgery. This is a common procedure now done in your doctor's office as an outpatient treatment. If the thought of cataract surgery makes you a little anxious, though, here is what you can expect from this quick and safe procedure to restore your healthy vision.
You'll Need a Little Help
Arrange to have someone take you to your appointment and bring you back home. The eye drops that the doctor uses will make it difficult to drive for several hours because your vision may be impaired. Ask the person to stay with you at home for a few hours after the procedure, too. You'll likely be tired and having someone with you for a short time will be helpful.
The Cataract Surgery
Once you've checked in to the eye doctor's office or clinic, you'll be seated in a comfortable chair that reclines slightly. Your doctor or their assistants will move equipment next to you that will be used during the procedure. The doctor will look through a microscope to see into your eyes as they do the surgery. They will also use an ultrasonic probe or a laser for the surgery.
When you are comfortable, your doctor will put drops in your eyes to anesthetize them. You'll feel no pain during the procedure. You'll also get eye drops to make your eyes dilate. This helps your doctor see the area in which they will be working.
The surgery consists of making a small incision in each eye and then removing the cloudy lenses. The doctor will then insert an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL), into the space taken up by the original lenses. Most cataract procedures require no stitches. For some cases in which the cataract is advanced, a larger incision must be made which will require a couple of stitches to close.
You'll be taken to a quiet area after the procedure to rest for a short time. Your doctor will check on your eyes periodically. When they are satisfied that there are no issues, you'll be able to go home. You'll receive a prescription for antibiotic eye drops to use for a few days and pain medication for minor aching you may have while your eyes heals.
Back at Home
For a few days, your eyes may itch slightly as they heal. If it bothers you, your eye doctor will give you an eye shield to wear to prevent you from rubbing your eyes. You'll continue to use the eye drops to prevent an infection and any swelling in the eyes.
You'll see an improvement in your vision as the eyes heal and any swelling goes away. The IOLs inserted into your eyes will correct some vision issues, but you may need to continue to use glasses to have good near and distance vision.
You'll have follow up appointments with your eye doctor to check on your vision. Besides improving your vision, one advantage of artificial lenses is that they are unaffected by cataracts. This is a procedure that you won't need to have again in the future. If you have any more questions or if you feel you may have cataracts, contact an eye doctor at an establishment like Alta View Eye Care Center.