Cataract Surgery: What to Expect Before and Afterwards
Cataract surgery is a routine treatment for one of the most common health issues that most people will encounter at some point in their lives.
In fact, if you are lucky enough to reach 80, then there is a more than 50 percent chance that you will have developed a cataract in at least one eye.
Of course all this does not stop the prospect of undergoing the procedure to remove a cataract any less daunting. So to reduce your pre-surgery jitters, or those of someone you are caring for, here is a look at what to expect throughout.
Arranging the surgery
First and foremost, it’s worth pointing out that you can cover 80 percent of the cataract surgery cost with Medicare, so it does not need to be a significant financial burden.
You will need to be referred by your doctor, and you can draw attention to the need for this by telling them when your vision is deteriorating. Blurriness and a greater amount of glare produced by looking at bright lights are two common signs of a cataract developing.
Bear in mind that cataracts will not worsen rapidly, but are usually accumulated over the course of many years, so you do not need to arrange surgery urgently. Even so, it is better to undergo this treatment rather than putting up with it, as it will eventually lead to blindness if left untouched.
Preparing for the surgery
The procedure is usually preceded by tests carried out by your doctor, including ultrasound scans of your eye and potentially the prescription of antibiotic drops to limit the likelihood of infection.
If you are on certain medications, you may need to halt these just prior to the surgery, especially if they have side effects related to bleeding. Adhere to the advice your physician provides, and you should be fine.
Also arrange for someone to drive you to and from the surgery appointment, because while it will be over in under an hour in most cases, you will be incapable of getting behind the wheel yourself in the immediate aftermath.
Experiencing the surgery
The process of cataract removal involves taking out your eye’s lens and replacing it with an artificial equivalent. The aforementioned ultrasonic scan will have been used to prepare an implant of the right size for this task.
Local anesthetics will be applied to numb the affected area, and if you are having trouble relaxing then you may also receive a sedative at this point.
There are a couple of main ways for the lens to be removed once you are prepared, with the first and most common being a more intensive form of ultrasound that essentially causes it to disintegrate so it can then be extracted via suction.
The second involves an incision and a surgical tool intervening to pluck out the lens, with this route usually only taken if it is necessary because of other factors unique to your case.
After the surgery
Once the procedure is complete, you will be free to go, and your friend or family member who is picking you up can take you home to begin the recovery process.
Blurriness of vision is normal for a few days, and this will gradually improve as your eye recovers from the surgical intervention it has undergone.
Itching is a side effect that will likely be felt at this point, and a visit to your doctor two or three days after the surgery will also be scheduled to ensure everything is still ok.
Within a week, you should be basically back to normal, albeit better thanks to the removal of your cloudy old lens!