What to Expect

What To Expect from Cataract Surgery & Recovery

Before Surgery

Your ophthalmologist will measure your eye to set the proper focusing power for your IOL (intraocular lens). Also, you will be asked about any medications you take. You might be asked not to take some of these medications before surgery.

You may be prescribed eyedrop medicines to take before surgery. These medicines help prevent infection and reduce swelling during and after surgery.

The Day of Surgery

Your ophthalmologist may ask you not to eat any solid food at least 6 hours before your surgery.

Cataract removal surgery may be done in an outpatient surgery center or in a hospital. Here is what will happen:

  • Your eye will be numbed with eye drops or with an injection around the eye. You may also be given a medicine to help you relax.
  • You will be awake during surgery. You may see light and movement during the procedure, but you will not see what the doctor is doing to your eye.
  • Your surgeon will enter into the eye through tiny incisions (cuts, created by blade or laser) near the edge of your cornea (the clear covering on the front of your eye). The surgeon uses these incision to reach the lens in your eye. Using very small instruments, he or she will break up the lens with the cataract and remove it then your new lens is inserted into place.
  • Usually your surgeon will not need to stitch the incision closed. These “self sealing” incisions will close by themselves overtime. A shield will be placed over your eye to protect it while you heal from surgery.
  • You will rest in a recovery area for about 15-30 minutes. Then you will be ready to go home.

Days or Weeks After Surgery

  • You may have to use eye drops after surgery. Be sure to follow your doctors directons for using these drops.
  • Avoid getting soap or water directly in the eye.
  • Do not rub or press on your eye. Your ophthalmologist may ask you to wear eyeglasses or a shield to protect your eye.
  • You will need to wear a protective eye shield when you sleep.
  • Your ophthalmologist will talk with you about how active you can be soon after surgery. He or she will tell you when you can safely exercise, drink or do other activities again.

Cataract surgery will not restore your vision lost from other eye conditions such as macular degenerations, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy.

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