A cataract is a clouding of what would normally be a healthy lens. For those that suffer from cataracts, seeing through a cloudy lens is like looking through a fogged-up window. At first, eyeglasses and stronger lighting can help you deal with cataracts, but over time, you may need to have cataract surgery. See some of the frequently asked questions we get asked about cataract surgery.
Are There Different Kinds of Cataract Surgery?
Yes, you will find that there are different types of this surgery. The technique that is used will depend on different factors, including the equipment used, the expertise of the surgeon, and the health of your eye that is going to undergo the procedure.
Does Cataract Surgery Hurt?
There will be no or little discomfort during the procedure. While you will be awake during the procedure, there are steps taken so that you don’t feel any pain. You likely won’t remember much of the surgery, but you won’t be put under general anesthesia like you would be for other major surgical procedures. You are usually given a mild sedative in order to help you relax, and then numbing eye drops are used in the eye to prevent discomfort. After medications wear off after surgery, you may find some minor eye discomfort. This pain is mild, and you can manage it with over the counter pain medication.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from Cataract Surgery?
The recovery time from cataract surgery is short. Any discomfort or soreness you feel should disappear within a few days. Depending on the size and nature of your cataracts and your ability to heal, full recovery should take about four to six weeks. During this time, you want to be sure to follow the after-surgery instructions and do the follow-up visits with your doctor.
How Do You Prepare for Successful Recovery after Cataract Surgery?
After the procedure, your vision will be limited so you should have a family member or friend drive you home. Your doctor may suggest that you avoid any bending or lifting for a week after surgery so you should put off any physical projects until you are recovered. It can feel normal to feel lethargic and fatigued after surgery so you may want to cook meals ahead of time. Since your eyes need to heal after surgery you should stay away from swimming pools for a week and avoid hot tubs and saunas since these can be breeding grounds for disease. While you mostly can recover solo, your eye doctor will still be involved. Your doctor will have follow-up appointments to make sure your eye is healing. Have your eye doctor’s number handy if you notice changes in your vision, no reduction in swelling or redness, increasing eye pain, discharge from your eye, or strange flashes of light in your vision.
Can You Exercise after Cataract Surgery?
You need to refrain from any strenuous physical activity for at least a week after your surgery. Activities that can increase the pressure in your eye could increase the risk of developing complications. After a few days, you can resume lighter activity, such as walking if it is cleared by your doctor. After about four weeks, you should be able to resume a regular exercise routine.
Do You Need to Have Your Glasses Prescription Updated after Surgery?
If you choose the standard cataract surgery using an intraocular lens then you will likely still need reading glasses or the glasses with an updated prescription after surgery. There are also cataract surgery options that can eliminate or reduce your need for glasses. For example, you can get cataract surgery with multifocal or trifocal IOLs that can enable you to be glasses-free much of the day.
Is Cataract Surgery Serious?
Every surgery does involve some risks, but you should know cataract surgery is the most commonly performed type of surgery in the U.S. The surgeons at Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute have several thousand procedures under their belt and choosing their experience can help reduce the risk.
Are There Instances When Cataract Surgery Should Be Avoided?
There aren’t a lot of cases where you should be avoiding cataract surgery. The main answer in deciding when to have cataract surgery is whether or not the procedure will provide a significant improvement to your vision and if it can be done safely. In early cataracts, your vision can be improved with just a change of your eyeglass prescription. However, even in the case of some mild cataracts, changing contact lenses or glasses doesn’t help. Your eye doctor will help you decide when the best time to have cataract surgery is. It’s a safe procedure but you should always consider the risk and rewards.
When Is the Right Time to Have Cataract Surgery?
If you have vision problems and have cataracts then it might be the right time to have surgery. It’s possible you may experience vision problems, such as halos or glare before your eye doctor notices any significant clouding of the lens. This dysfunctional lens syndrome can be reason enough to consider cataract surgery if you need better visual acuity. You may also want to consider insurance requirements and financial considerations when considering when the right time to have cataract surgery is. Insurance companies require your vision to reach a certain level before they will consider it medically necessary. An exam with our clinic will certainly determine your candidacy.
What Happens if You Don’t Treat Cataracts?
If you don’t treat cataracts and have cataract surgery, there can be repercussions. In many cases, cataracts will continue to get worse over time and cause a reduction in vision. Your driving can be impacted, as well as the overall quality of your life. Many people actually become legally blind from untreated cataracts, and cataracts that have been untreated for long periods can cause total blindness. It can be hard to accurately predict just how quickly a cataract can worsen. If you notice your vision getting worse, don’t wait to see your eye doctor to have your vision checked.
Can You Have Cataract Surgery if You Have Glaucoma?
Yes, you can still have cataract surgery if you also have glaucoma. In certain cases, cataract surgery can lower your high eye pressure and reduce the medication you need to manage your glaucoma. However, extra caution is still needed to monitor the pressure of the eye in those with glaucoma who have cataract surgery. It’s also important to follow any instructions about your glaucoma medication before and after the procedure. There are minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries (MIGS) that can be done to lower your eye pressure while you are having your cataract surgery.
Does the Surgery Cause Dry Eyes?
Cataract surgery will not usually cause dry eyes. During the procedure, only two small incisions are made in the cornea and these incisions heal quickly without stitches and don’t affect how many tears you produce. Even though the surgery doesn’t cause dry eyes, any pre-existing dry eye condition can affect the quality of your cataract surgery. Your surgeon should evaluate the tear film before performing surgery.
Can You Have Cataract Surgery in Both Eyes at the Same Time?
If you have cataracts in both eyes, then surgery will usually be performed on one eye and then a few weeks later performed on the second eye. This will allow the first eye to recover and your vision to stabilize before the procedure on the second eye. Sometimes cataract surgery can be performed on both eyes in the same day for patients who are very farsighted or nearsighted. These patients may be unhappy if the procedures are performed on separate days because they would feel visually unbalanced after the first surgery.
Contact Florida Eye today to schedule an appointment and learn more about cataracts and cataract surgery.