If you have a cloudy vision and difficulty in reading due to a cataract, your doctor may suggest surgery to remove the cataract and to implant an artificial lens in your eye to improve the vision. This article answers some common questions about cataract surgery.
The clouding of the lens in the eye is known as a cataract. The proteins in the lens break down little by little and cause things to look blurry or less colorful. Cataracts develop very slowly and interfere with your vision. Age-related cataracts generally involved both eyes to a varying degree.
Cataracts can cause many problems, including difficulty reading, working on a computer, driving in the dark, etc. In such situations, surgery is the best solution. Ideally, surgery should be done whenever patients develop difficulty in their day-to-day activity or when doctors advise them to do so.
During phacoemulsification, the surgeon cuts a small opening in the cornea. A tool sends sound waves to shatter the clouded lens into tiny pieces, which are then sucked up by a small vacuum. Next, the new lens is positioned. The cut is small enough to heal without stitches.
During this type of cataract surgery, the eye lens is removed by your cataract surgeon, leaving only the elastic capsule covering the lens. This is left partially attached to help in the implantation of an intraocular lens (IOL). This procedure requires a smaller incision than the conventional Intra-capsular cataract surgery and is performed if the lens is harder to break.
A computer-guided laser is used in this procedure for making the surgical incision, capsular opening and breaking of the lens to pieces. After that the surgery is completed using the normal phacoemulsification technique.
It is generally very safe and is performed as an outpatient procedure. However, if one has health issues like diabetes, the eye specialist might want you to have it under good control before proceeding with the surgery. You might have to stop taking medicines that might impact your surgery and recovery. Your eye surgeon or ophthalmologist will measure your eye's shape and size and your cornea curvature to set the right power for your lens. Your doctor may prescribe eye drops before and after surgery to prevent infection and to reduce inflammation. You will get topical or local anesthesia to avoid any pain. After that, your doctor will prescribe you a protective covering to be worn at night. You will be given guidelines to ensure a better recovery, and your doctor will schedule follow-up visits to monitor recovery.
The sensation should start to return to the eye within an hour. However, it may take some time for normal vision to be restored, and the patient may notice side effects like grittiness in the eye or blurred vision, which is very normal. Such side effects improve within a few days. The patient will generally need new glasses. However, he may not be able to wear them until the eye is fully healed (typically after six weeks).
Here are some guidelines for a safe and quick recovery from cataract surgery:
Depending on the size and nature of your cataracts, as well as the physiology and ability to heal, full recovery could take from four to six weeks, and any discomfort or soreness will disappear. The vision may be blurry, and the colors may seem brighter initially, but it gets better with time.
Some rare side-effects of the surgery include:
If you face vision loss symptoms, pain that does not heal despite taking over-the-counter pain relievers, have very red eyes or see eye floaters or flashes of light, contact your doctor immediately.