If your cataract begins to affect your vision, inhibiting your ability to do things you need or like to do, such as driving, cooking, reading, painting, etc., you may be ready to have your cataract removed.
The only way a cataract can be removed is through surgery. There are no medications, dietary supplements, exercises, or optical devices that have been shown to treat cataracts. Cataract surgery is an elective procedure. This means that the time to remove the cataract is when it interferes with your visual needs. A comprehensive exam by an ophthalmologist is required to decide if surgery is necessary.
Cataract surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia on an out-patient basis. Your ophthalmologist uses a microscope and delicate instruments to remove the cataract. Cataract surgery has two basic steps: 1) removal of the cataract and 2) placement of an intraocular lens implant.
What Can be Expected from Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is an incredibly common surgery – in fact, it is the most commonly performed medical surgery in the US. This outpatient procedure takes approximately 15 minutes; you can expect to leave the surgery center about 3 – 4 hours after you arrive. The surgery is performed under local anesthesia. There is no pain and no blood with cataract surgery. You will be seen by a doctor the day after your surgery, as well as one week after surgery. Cataract surgery is performed on one eye at a time. You will receive your final glasses prescription about 4 weeks after your second eye surgery. The eye needs time to heal; that is why a new prescription for glasses is not reliable if done sooner.
After cataract surgery, you can expect some mild blurriness as your eye heals and your vision adjusts – this is perfectly normal. It is also normal to feel some slight light sensitivity, itchiness or discomfort in the eye as it heals, but try to avoid rubbing or pushing on the eye. Your doctor will prescribe an eye drop regimen and written instructions. These drops help the healing process by reducing inflammation, controlling eye pressure, and preventing infection.