Cataract surgery is an extremely effective way to restore your vision if you’ve been struggling with cataracts. However, it can help to know what to expect from your surgery. Here’s what to know about cataract surgery so you can begin preparing and bring the right questions with you to your consultation with our expert team.
What Is Cataract Surgery?
The goal of cataract surgery is to replace the lens of each eye affected by cataracts with an artificial one. Cataracts cause cloudy lenses and make it hard to see. The surgery is done as an outpatient procedure by an ophthalmologist. This procedure is common and quite safe, and is one of the most effective ways to treat cataracts for the long term.
The Risks of Cataract Surgery
There are rarely complications when cataract surgery is performed by an experienced ophthalmologist. However, every surgery comes with risks. Some of the risks of cataract surgery include:
- Bleeding in the retina
- Drooping eyelids
- Misplaced artificial lens
- Detachment of the retina
- Loss of vision
- Recurrence of cataracts
If you have concerns like macular degeneration, glaucoma, or other medical conditions, the risks are greater. Your ophthalmologist can evaluate if treatment for other eye conditions is necessary before you consider cataract surgery. If you are predisposed to infection, your specialist may prescribe antibiotic eyedrops that need to be administered for up to two days before the surgery.
What to Expect After Cataract Surgery
Typically, patients go home the same day as their procedure, but be aware that you cannot drive yourself and will need somebody else to take you home. You should plan on resting for around one week as you recover. Bending and lifting can put a strain on the eyes, so you should not be overly active during this time.
After surgery, your sight may be a bit blurred as the process of healing begins to adjust your eyes to the new lenses. Your vision will begin to return to normal within a couple days. With new lenses, the colors you see can seem more vivid and bright since you are no longer looking through cataracts. Cataracts tend to mute colors and patients sometimes don’t realize just how much the condition affected their vision until after their surgery is completed.
The first few days after surgery, itching and discomfort are normal. Try not to rub your eyes or push on them. It’s possible that your ophthalmologist may want you to wear an eye patch to protect and shield your eye after the operation. You may also need to wear a shield that will protect your eyes for several days post-op and every night during your recovery period.
Eyedrops will be prescribed to avoid the risk of infection and bring down any swelling or ocular pressure you may have. Your discomfort should be gone after a few days and you should begin to see improvement in healing. If not, then be sure to see your ophthalmologist as soon as possible. It will take approximately eight weeks to be completely healed.
You will typically return to your ophthalmologist up to two days after your procedure, and again the next week. About one month post-op, you will have another appointment to make sure you are healing properly.
If you have any of the following symptoms you should get in contact with our office immediately:
- Loss of vision
- Pain that does not go away even after using over-the-counter 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
Schedule a Consultation
Cataract surgery is an excellent, long-term option for restoring your vision. To learn more about your options and what to expect from recovery, contact our Hamilton office by calling or filling out our online form.