Cataract surgery – FAQs
Does cataract surgery hurt?
No. Your eyes are numbed before any work begins. As most people feel apprehensive, Thomas usually asks his Anaesthetist to give you a mild sedative to help you relax. There is typically no pain during the recovery period, although you may feel some itchiness and mild discomfort. It doesn’t last long.
Cataract Surgery Steps
Once you and Thomas have agreed that cataract surgery is necessary, your Hospital operation date will be booked and you will need to arrange transportation to and from the Hospital. Your eye operations will be done on two separate visits and each procedure takes about 10 minutes for a routine case.
- You will receive a local anaesthetic drop into the eye to be operated on.
- Looking through an operating microscope, Thomas will make a tiny incision at the side of the eye, outside your visual field.
- Through that incision, he will insert a thin ultrasound probe. The ultrasound vibration will break up the cataract, making it easier to remove. The small pieces are gently suctioned out thr
ough the same little incision;
- Thomas will insert your IOL and position it correctly inside the same membrane pocket/bag (capsule) that your natural lens previously occupied.
The IOL is folded when it is inserted and it unfolds itself in the lens pocket. Thomas will adjust it to make sure it is positioned correctly. It has a pair of “wings” hold it in position.
The incision will heal itself during your recovery period. Occasionally a suture may be needed depending on your previous ocular history.
Cataract Surgery Recovery
You will have a clear plastic shield over your eye and you can rest for a while in the comfortable recovery room. You were given drops/prescription and instructions to following during your postoperative period. These must be strictly followed to lessen the risk of any complications.
For a week or so, it will be important to avoid:
- Any potential trauma to the eye.
- Any activities that might put dust or germs in your eye.
- Water that could splash into your eye, so no swimming.
Within a day or so, you will notice an improvement in your eyesight. You will not feel the IOL in your eye. Full recovery takes about two to four weeks. Your IOLs will need no care beyond just looking after your eyes as you would anyway.
What complications might develop after cataract surgery?
Infection is always a 1 in 1000 possibility after surgery. That is why it is so important that you follow your post-operative instructions. You will be seen the day after your surgery to make sure no problems. There will be a series of follow-up visits so you can be monitored during you recovery time.
Rare complications from cataract surgery can include retinal detachment, corneal decompensation, and glaucoma (there is a full list in the consent booklet you receive at your pre-op appointment). These tend to only occur in eyes predisposed to these problems due to conditions that have already weakened these structures years before the operation.
After 2 years, up to 90% of patients will develop scarring of the posterior lens capsule called posterior capsular opacification (PCO). This can easily be corrected with a procedure called a NYAG Laser Capsulotomy. Below shows PCO and then after the laser treatment.