How Long Does it Take for the Eye to Heal After Cataract Surgery?

What Is Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is performed to take the lens of your eyeball and typically replace it with one that is artificial. Cataracts cause cloudy lenses and make it hard for the person with the condition to see. The surgery is done as an outpatient procedure by an ophthalmologist. This procedure is common and quite safe.

Risks Involved With Cataract Surgery

There are rarely any complications when cataract surgery is performed and most that do occur are treated with high success rates.
The risks include the following possibilities:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding in the retina
  • Swelling
  • The eyelid may droop
  • The artificial lens can possibly slip
  • The detachment of the retina is possible
  • Glaucoma
  • Losing vision
  • A second cataract can develop

If macular degeneration, glaucoma, or other medical conditions are present the risks are greater. Your opthalmologist can evaluate if treatment for other eye conditions is necessary before the consideration of cataract surgery. If you are predisposed to infection, your specialist may prescribe antibiotic eye drops that need to be administered for up to two days before the surgery.

Post-surgical Precautions

Typically patients go home the same day as their procedure, but be aware that you cannot drive yourself and will need somebody with you to take you home. You will need help for about a week if your doctor tells you to be easy on your body. Bending and lifting can put a strain on the eyes, therefore it is not advised to be overly active during the first week of recovery.

Once the procedure has been performed, your ability to see will start to get better within a few days. Your sight may be a bit blurred as the process of healing begins to adjust your eyes to the new lenses.

With new lenses, the colors that you see will likely seem to be more vivid and bright since you are no longer looking through clouds. Cataracts tend to mute colors and patients sometimes don’t realize just how much the condition affected their vision.

You will typically return to your specialist up to two days after your procedure, and again the next week. Once you hit a month post-op, you will have another appointment to be sure you are healing properly.

The first few days after you have the surgery itching and discomfort are normal. Try not to rub your eyes or push on them. It’s possible that the specialist may want you to wear an eye patch to protect and shield your eye on the day of the operation. Some doctors will have their patients wear a shiel that will protect the eye(s) for several days post-op and every night during the time of recovery.

Eyedrops may be prescribed by the ophthalmologist to avoid the risk of infection and bring down any swelling or ocular pressure you may have. Some of these medications can be administered by injection directly into the eye during the operation. Your discomfort should be gone after a few days and you should begin to see improvement healing. It will take approximately eight weeks for the patient to be completely healed.

If you have any of the following symptoms you should get in contact with your specialist immediately:

  • Loss of vision
  • Pain that does not reduce even after using OTC pain relievers
  • Redness or swelling of the eyelid and surrounding areas of the eye
  • Flashes of light or floating spiders in front of the eye

It’s not uncommon for patients to need glasses for at least a short period of time after surgery. Your specialist will wait until your healing is complete to give you a prescription for permanent glasses if they are needed. This can take anywhere from one month up to three months before complete healing is achieved.

If you have cataracts in both of your eyes the second surgery is normally not performed until after the first eye has healed. Both eyes are not typically operated on at the same time as it will leave the patient with no vision for at all for some time.

Cataracts: What Are The Early Signs?

As we become older, the lenses inside our eyes get yellow, harden, and become cloudy. This opaque change of the lens is a cataract which prevents light from penetrating the lens. Cataracts can develop in both eyes symmetrically or more noticeable in one eye, but you cannot have multiple cataracts per eye, they cannot “jump” from one eye to the other, and they are not contagious. How can you know whether you need to consult an eye doctor? Signs that point to early detection include difficulty seeing at night, appearance of halos and glare, cloudy vision, and increased light sensitivity.

Difficulty Seeing at Night

People with the beginnings of cataracts say they have worsening of the nighttime vision. Cataracts can cause vision to dim or darken, making good vision more difficult. People that have early stage cataracts may not notice these vision changes during the day because daylight can compensate for worsening of the vision. However, the worsened vision may be noticeable at night. Cataracts distort light that enters your eyes and as a result you may see halos around lights. When you have difficulty seeing at night, it is time for an eye exam.

Appearance of Halos and Glare

You are driving and you notice the oncoming cars’ headlights are not two distinct points. Instead, they have multiple rings or shadows around them. It could be a sign of the beginning of cataracts, and you would benefit from the eye exam to make sure your vision is still good for driving.

Cloudy Vision

Another sign of cataracts is foggy or filmy vision. As the cataract gets worse, less and less light gets through the lens of the eye to the retina. This is related to halos and glare. If you notice that your vision becomes more and more hazy, you should consider removing the cataracts.

Increased Light Sensitivity

Usually, when one is young, sensitivity to light only appears when looking at the sun. However, when one becomes uncomfortable with the ordinary headlights and/or home lights, it can be a sign of cataracts. The increased need for darker sunglasses can also be another sign of cataracts. Since nearly 1/3 of blindness is because of untreated cataracts, it makes sense to stay on top of your eye health. Maybe you just need to update you glasses, but maybe you do have cataracts. A visit with Campus Eye Group in New Jersey can help to put your mind at ease when you are concerned about your eye health.

Cataract Surgery

When you imagine a cataract, think about something that covers the lens of your eye and that prevents you from seeing like you normally would. Glasses won’t make a difference in how well you can see when you have a cataract, which is why you’ll likely need to have surgery performed. 

Benefits of Cataract Surgery in Trenton

One benefit of cataract surgery is that you might not need to rely on wearing glasses as often as you did before the procedure. You’ll usually discover that cataracts are a normal part of the aging process and that there is a high percentage of people over the age of 80 who have had them at some point. With modern technology and the care provided by Campus Eye Group, this type of surgery is effective and safe. 

How is Cataract Surgery Performed in Trenton?

Most cataract surgeries are performed in an outpatient facility. You won’t be put to sleep as you would with other types of surgeries, but you’ll be sedated so that you’re comfortable. Keep in mind that your eye will need to remain open during the procedure so that the cataract can be removed. 

After you’re comfortable and in the operating room, your doctor will remove the lens that has become clouded. An artificial lens will then be placed in your eye. This artificial lens will provide the clear vision that you had before the cataract developed and often better vision than you had before surgery. Since the procedure is performed in an outpatient facility and usually doesn’t take long to complete, there’s typically no need to stay in a hospital overnight. 

During the surgery, ultrasound technology is used to break apart the cataract so that it’s in small pieces. This makes it easier to remove through a suction procedure instead of making multiple incisions in your eye. Since there are fewer and smaller incisions made, the recovery time is faster and an easier process. There are also fewer complications that present with this type of surgery including a decreased risk of an infection. Once the lens is completely removed, your doctor from Campus Eye Group will place the clear lens. This is placed right where your natural lens was so that it can function as naturally as possible. You usually won’t be able to tell that there is a different lens in your eye as it’s the same size and shape as your natural one. You will need to go back to your doctor at Campus Eye Group the next day after your surgery and then as necessary to ensure that your eye is healing properly. 

To get started on your treatment and to learn more about cataract surgery, contact Campus Eye Group today.