What to Expect When “Electing” . . . Cataract Surgery

Many people consider poor vision an inevitable fact of aging, but they are mistaken.

Cataracts develop as we age and are typically the cause of deteriorating vision. Cataract surgery is a simple, relatively painless procedure that allows us to regain a majority of that lost vision. Nine out of ten people who have cataract surgery regain very good vision, somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40.

Cataract surgery is extremely successful in restoring vision. In fact, with more than 3 million Americans undergoing cataract surgery each year, it is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States.

Things to consider before electing to have cataract surgery.

  • Do you have problems seeing well enough to safely do your job and to drive?
  • Do you have problems reading or watching television?
  • Is it difficult to cook, shop, do yard work, climb stairs or take medications?
  • Do vision problems affect your level of independence?
  • Do bright lights make it more difficult to see?

If you can answer YES to any of these questions, it may be time to consider cataract surgery. Your FIRST STEP will be to schedule an appointment with a Cataract Specialist to undergo a comprehensive cataract evaluation.

Plan to be at your eye doctor’s office for 2-3 hours to undergo an extensive series of tests.

You MAY BE DILATED for this examination, so we encourage you to have someone available to drive you home after the exam. Should you elect to undergo cataract surgery, you will be scheduled to meet with a surgical coordinator who will walk you through the consent process. She/he will also explain additional medical tests you will have to undergo in order to be medically cleared to undergo cataract surgery. You may also elect to undergo an “upgraded lens”, of which financial decisions will have to be made. Therefore, it is wise to have another family member to also ask questions and help you to understand all the material that is covered during your meeting with our surgical coordinator.

To prepare for your cataract surgery, you may be asked to:

  • Stop taking certain medications. You may be advised to temporarily stop taking certain medications that may increase your risk of bleeding during the procedure. If you are taking any medications for prostate problems, these drugs may interfere with cataract surgery.
  • Use eyedrops to reduce infection risk. Antibiotic eyedrops may be prescribed to you for use 1-2 days before the surgery.
  • Fast before surgery. You will be instructed not to eat or drink anything 12 hours before the procedure.
  • Prepare for your recovery. You should expect to go home on the same day as your surgery. You will not be able to drive and will require transportation to and from your procedure. Be sure to make arrangements with a friend or family member to assist you. You should also arrange for help when you are home. You will be instructed to limit activities, such as bending and lifting, for about a week after your surgery, possibly longer.

What to Expect During Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that takes less than one hour to perform. However, plan to be at the cataract surgery center for 2-3 hours.

You will be prepped for surgery by a nurse and the anesthesiologist before entering the treatment room. Your eyes will also be numbed and dilated. Once prepped, you will be placed on a surgical table and wrapped in warm blankets. The surgeon may place additional drops in your eyes to keep the numbing process of the eye. You will also receive a local sedative to numb the area in and around your eye. You may also be given a sedative to help you to relax.

During the procedure, your clouded lens will be gently removed, and a clear artificial lens will be implanted. This is usually discussed prior to your cataract surgery. There are rare cases when circumstances during the procedure warrant not inserting an artificial lens. (The risks and benefits of cataract surgery will have been clearly reiterated to you prior to your cataract surgery, during your surgical consent process).

A majority of cataract surgery patients report experiencing very little to NO pain throughout the procedure. Finally, SEVERAL are shocked by their ability to see almost immediately after cataract surgery.

If you think you have reached a point where you may benefit from undergoing cataract surgery – please call our offie today at 781.251.2222 to schedule your cataract consultation today.

 

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