Cataract Surgery

Before Surgery

You will need a medical clearance from your family physician within 30 days of surgery. This includes a history and physical, and possibly an EKG and chest X-ray (if you have had significant lung disease). You may be required to have additional diagnostic and lab tests at the discretion of your physician.

On the night before surgery, do NOT eat or drink after midnight. Postpone your diabetic medications until after surgery or reduce the dose if surgery is in the late morning or afternoon. Continue to take other medications prior to surgery, including aspirin. You may take your medications with a little bit of water.

What to wear: Clean clothes, loose tops, short sleeve top, no dresses, no body suits, no turtlenecks. Do not wear eye makeup, facial moisturizer, perfume, cologne, or body mist.

Location: The Surgery Center (downstairs below the main office)

Arrival: The week before surgery, our office will send to you by mail your surgery time and will let you know what time to arrive. Upon arrival, you will complete surgical center registration forms. Bring insurance cards with you. Be prepared to pay co-pays or any other out of pocket expenses.

Length of stay: Count on being at the facility for one to two hours, possibly more. You will need someone to take you home. Friends and relatives may wait for you in the waiting room or in the café on the first floor of the surgery center.

The surgery center will NOT release you without a companion.

Surgery

  1. First, an anesthesiologist will provide a mild sedative to make your surgery more comfortable and to relax you.
  2. To remove the cataract, the cataract surgeon makes a microscopic incision and gently removes the cataract in a procedure called phacoemulsification.
  3. Next, the intraocular lens is inserted through the same microscopic incision and placed into the lens capsule of your eye where the natural lens was located. The procedure usually takes only 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. Today, cataract removal is generally performed as an outpatient procedure under topical anesthesia in over 99% of patients, and they leave the operating room without needing an eye patch.
  5. Because this procedure is performed through a microscopic incision, the eye usually seals itself without stitches.
  6. Following the procedure, most people return home within an hour or so. Vision is improved immediately in many cases. However, vision usually continues to improve in the weeks following the procedure until you achieve your best-possible vision.

After Surgery

Your eye will be examined the same or next day and then at intervals determined by your doctor.

You should have someone with you at home after surgery because of the medication you will receive.

Go home and rest.

After surgery you will be wearing an eye shield. Keep the shield on the entire first day except to place eye drops as instructed.

(If your eye is patched closed, don’t start your medications until seen by the doctor the next day.)

Eye drops: You started some of these drops a few days before surgery. The antibiotic drop you started will be continued for one week. The 2 other drops will be both used about four to six weeks, depending on your individual rate of healing.

*Restart any glaucoma drops or dry eye medications you were on prior to cataract surgery, including Restasis, AzaSite, and/or Oasis tears.

*Wait 3 minutes between each of your drops

*Bring all eye medications to all of your post-op appointments.

Back to work: You may be able to return to work the next day after surgery, depending on your occupation.

Exercise: You may resume some physical activities in as soon as one day depending on your surgery. Do not get sweat into your eyes.

Precautions:

  • No heavy lifting over 30 pounds, no bending over, and no straining for one week.
  • Do not ever rub or push your eye.
  • Do not allow water to flow directly onto your face or directly at your eyes for 5 days after surgery.
  • Do not wear makeup, moisturizer, perfume or cologne for 5 days.
  • Do not swim or use jacuzzis or saunas for 2 weeks.
  • Do not use hair chemicals (color treatments or harsh solutions) for 10 days.
  • Wear the eye shield at night for one week.

Pets: Please be sure to wash linens after your surgery. Please do not sleep with pets. Their fine hair may get into your eyes.

Surgery on your second eye: If you need cataract surgery in both eyes, the second eye can be done two to four weeks later.

Glasses: If needed, glasses for standard cataract surgery will be prescribed by your doctor or your comanaging doctor about a week after medications are stopped.

Normal healing: You may experience: scratchiness, few areas of redness, foreign body sensation, mild tenderness to touch, and fluctuating vision.

Call the Office Immediately If:

  • You have severe eye pain.
  • Your vision becomes worse.
  • The redness of your eye worsens.
  • Your eyelids become swollen.
  • You have flashes of light or sudden worsening of floaters.
  • You have a curtain or cobweb in your vision.

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