What is Cataract Surgery?
Cataract removal is one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures in the world today. In fact, more than three million cataract surgeries are performed each year in the United States. The operation entails making a tiny incision in the eye and inserting an instrument about the size of a pen tip to break up, and remove the cloudy lens. Once the cloudy lens is removed, a cataract replacement lens, or “IOL,” is inserted through the same tiny incision and set into its permanent position.
What to expect before and after cataract surgery
Most people are surprised to find out just how easy and pain-free cataract surgery is. It usually takes 20 to 30 minutes and most patients are back to their normal activities the very next day.
The following facts will help you prepare for surgery:
- An anesthetic eye drop will be given to numb the nerves in and/or around your eye
- Before and after surgery, your doctor may prescribe eye drops to help prevent infection and reduce swelling
- Most patients have improved vision soon after surgery, but your sight may continue to improve for several days or weeks
Micro-Incision Cataract Surgery
The modern day cataract surgery technique is routinely performed with small incision micro-surgery through a process known as phacoemulsification. The cataract removal and surgical process is actually done using the smallest possible incision, and removal of the lens material is accomplished using an ultrasonic probe. Before a new intraocular lens can be implanted the hardened cataract needs to be removed. After the eye is cleaned and proper dilation of the pupil has been achieved the surgeon is ready to make the incision. A micro-incision about the size of 3 millimeters is created at the junction of the cornea and the white part of the eye known as the sclera. The lens capsule is then opened and the ultrasonic probe is inserted so that the cataract can be removed. The ultrasonic probe pulverizes the cataract and suctions out the cataract material.
After the cataract is removed the surgeon is ready to implant a intraocular lens. This is a crucial point of understanding for patients. Patients can either have a monofocal Medicare lens, which will only correct vision for one distance, or they can opt for an upgrade premium lens implant that can reduce or eliminate their need for glasses after cataract surgery.
Understanding Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)
The intraocular lens is a foldable lens that slides through a tube like a fruit roll-up and unfolds in the capsular bag. The surgeon may center the new lens with the lens capsule if necessary. Once the lens is centered the surgery is complete. In most cases no stitches are required to seal the incision due specifically to the 3mm size. This is why it is called micro-surgery by many eye doctors. At Coastal Vision you know have options to select various premium lens implants that can enable better vision after cataract surgery. Some of the premium lens implants include multifocal IOLs or astigmatic correcting IOLs. If you are interested in a life with less hassles from glasses after cataract surgery we suggest scheduling some time to speak with one of our cataract surgery counselors. We can provide a complete education on how to select the appropriate cataract implant for your personal best vision.
Laser Refractive Cataract Surgery
There is a new breakthrough in cataract surgery known as Laser Refractive Cataract Surgery. With laser cataract surgery incisions can be made with extreme precision. The LenSx® laser provides patients with computer-controlled precision as it automates some of the most challenging steps of refractive cataract surgery. The laser replaces the traditional hand-held blade to optimize all incisions for enhanced, reproducible surgical performance. This breakthrough technology provides the surgeon with real-time three-dimensional visualization for true customization of your lens replacement procedure. In addition to using the femtosecond laser to do many of the surgical steps traditionally performed by hand, our doctors still use many of the best innovations in cataract surgery, such as drops, only anesthesia (no shots), sutureless incisions through the clear cornea and foldable intraocular lenses. These advances allow us to use the smallest possible incision, approximately 1/18th of an inch.
What happens after surgery?
Patients are typically concerned about the cataract surgery recovery process. The doctors at Coastal Vision Medical provide the best quality care and thoroughly explain what you can expect after cataract surgery. Recovery from cataract surgery is generally very quick. Most patients obtain better vision within the first 24 hours of the procedure. Itching and mild discomfort are normal after cataract surgery. Some fluid discharge is also common. Your eye may be sensitive to light and touch. If you have discomfort your doctor can suggest treatment. After one or two days any moderate discomfort should disappear.
For a few days after surgery, your doctor may ask you to use eye drops to help healing and decrease the risk of infection. Ask your cataract eye doctor about how to use your eyedrops, how often to use them, and what effects they can have. You will need to wear an eye shield or eyeglasses to help protect your eye. Avoid rubbing or pressing on your eye.
In most cases, healing will be complete within eight weeks. Your doctor will schedule exams to check on your progress. Each person heals differently so it is important to discuss the cataract surgery recovery with your eye doctor.
Frequently Asked Cataract Surgery Questions
Q: Can I have both eyes done at the same time?
A: Most cataract surgeries performed require us to operate on one eye at a time.
Q: What is the recovery period?
A: Recovery is relatively quick but everyone heals at a different pace. Many patients do get better vision after the first 24-28 hours. Please follow the post-surgical instructions very closely over first few weeks after cataract surgery.
Q: Will I have a choice of getting premium lens implants?
A: Yes, in fact we suggest that you discuss the available options with our counselors upon your eye examination at our office. If you are seeking premium lens implants in Southern California, please contact us at your earliest opportunity to discuss what will work best for you.
Our surgeons at Coastal Vision Medical Group are considered to be the premier cataract and refractive surgery experts in Southern California. They can carefully help you choose the most appropriate surgery.
Call (714) 771-1213 to schedule a cataract evaluation, or fill out the form on the right to schedule online. Convenient monthly payment plans are available.