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Cataract Surgery Expectations and Recovery
What to Expect Before and After Surgery?
Will I feel any pain during Cataract surgery? Can I wear makeup the next day? When can I work out or play sports? These are some of the more frequent questions patients ask about Cataract surgery.
As with any surgery, in Cataract surgery there is a recovery phase and healing phase after your procedure. For most people, recovery is very fast and patients resume most normal activities the following day. The healing period takes a little while longer, typically lasting 3-4 weeks during which time you should expect your vision to gradually improve. Below is a few guidelines on what to expect during your surgical consultation, the actual surgery and following recovery period.
Expect your Cataract surgery consultation to take 2 to 3 hours. During your consultation, our doctors will determine if you are a good candidate for Cataract surgery and help you determine which surgical option meets your daily needs. Things to expect during your consultation may include:
- Dilated Eye Exam
Dilating drops allow our doctors to assess the complete health of your eyes and assure no other concomitant eye issues exist.
- Refraction (Autorefraction and manifest refraction)
During your visit you will generally get two different eye glass refractions. One done by a technician utilizing a machine with will automatically attains your best possible refraction. The other is done by our doctors, refining your refraction further better understanding your cataract surgery needs.
- Optical Coherence Tomography
This test provides a complete analysis of your retina and central macula. Analyzing microns of ocular tissue in ways that is difficult for the human eye to discern even with a high powered microscope.
- Advanced Tear Quantification
The amount of tear film is essential to aid healing of the cornea after surgery. If it is low, it should be corrected to an optimal level before proceeding.
- Pentacam Corneal Mapping
Tomographic testing like Pentacam corneal mapping provides a complete analysis of the surface of the eye (the cornea) including a thickness profile, anterior and posterior curvature.
- Optical Biometry
Measuring multiple aspects of your eyes including how long the eye is axially and horizontally providing a good measure for the lens power needed to correct your prescription.
Now that your surgery day is finally here wear loose fitting clothing and expect to be in our facility for 2 to 3 hours, from check-in to check-out.
After you check-in a nurse will check your blood pressure, temperature and pulse and ask a few questions to make sure that you are well prepared for your surgery.
We will apply eye drops to dilate your pupil and numb the eye. Liquid medication under the tongue is given to relax you and may make you a little drowsy, and then an IV is started. Your anesthesiologist will also review your medical history.
Blood pressure and heart monitors will be attached and you will be covered with sterile drapes. In the operating room, there will be more eye drops; we’ll wipe your face with betadine to disinfect the eye. Oxygen will be provided to you directly by way of a tube in front of you.
Your surgery should generally last less than 15 minutes during which time you are not asleep but rather in a twilight.
Let us know if you need to cough or sneeze. If you feel any discomfort, let us know and we can immediately administer more medication.
After your surgery is complete a patch or shield is placed on the surgical eye and you are transported to the post-operative recovery area. There you will rest for about 20 minutes while being monitored carefully and given something to eat and drink. Then you will be permitted to leave.
Rest after surgery. Remember your vision will be blurry, which is normal. Do not drive on the surgery day and do not drink alcohol as we have given you a light sedative.
Do not rub your eye. If instructed, wear a shield over your eye at night until told otherwise. You may shower but avoid getting water directly in your eye.
Slight eye ache, scratchy and sand-like feeling is normal for the first week or two after surgery. Use artificial tears to lubricate the eyes will help these symptoms. It is okay to take Tylenol or a non-aspirin over-the-counter pain medication for this feeling.
Sensitivity to light may occur after surgery for a short while. We will provide sunglasses that will fit over your old glasses. If you are comfortable in the sunlight, you may go without them.
Unless your surgeon instructs otherwise, you may resume non-strenuous activities immediately after surgery. This includes: walking, watching TV, reading, bathing or showering (keeping the eye dry for the first few days). You may resume all activities after 5 to 7 days.
Do not perform any strenuous activity or lift heavy objects. Make your first day a restful one. Lifting light objects is permitted as long as you do not strain. You may bend over or stoop, but be careful not to bump your eye. Avoid swimming and hot tubs for the first week.
Typically, new glasses may be prescribed in three to four weeks. In the mean time you may wear your old glasses as they will protect the operated eye from bumps and rubbing and help the vision in your other eye.
You are seen the following day after surgery. This is generally a very quick check to assure everything is in good position and healing properly. You can generally drive to this follow-up appointment unless told otherwise. If you do not feel comfortably driving, make sure you have someone drive you to the follow-up appointment.
During the first week or so after Cataract Surgery some patients still report experiencing a mild grittiness and seeing some residual haloes and glare. By this time however, these symptoms are decreasing each day.
After 5 days you can generally resume all normal activities including water activities and wearing makeup unless otherwise stated. Nonetheless it is still important to avoid rubbing your eye.
At this point your eye should be likely completely healed. And there are no restrictions. Eye glass prescriptions will be prescribed three to four weeks after cataract surgery. Feel free to contact us at any time if any questions or issue arise.
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Cataract Surgery FAQs
Our doctors and support staff are here to answer any questions you may have about Cataract surgery. We have compiled answers to some of your most frequently asked questions.
What Are Cataracts? How Are They Treated?
Cataracts are a natural part of aging and form in just about every single person over the age of 50. As such it is a leading cause of vision loss with many risk factors, signs and symptoms.
How Does Cataract Surgery Work?
The solution to reversing the effects of cataracts involves breaking up and removing the cataract through a tiny, micro incision and replacing the natural lens with an artificial lens implant.