THE CATARACT SURGERY PROCEDURE: HELPFUL TIPS WHEN PREPARING FOR CATARACT SURGERY
If you are getting cataract surgery, you will most likely receive a list of dos and don’ts from your doctor. Whether you are nervous or not, preparing for cataract surgery is the primary factor you have control over, so you should do it correctly. Following instructions is important because doing so will help ensure your surgery is successful and you recover quickly.
Don’t hesitate to ask if you do not understand something you’ve been told. The surgery team is there to assist if you need them. While you prepare, there are a few other things to take note of as well. Some of these may be on your list. If not, paying attention to them is still a good idea.
Here, we will list the standard preparation advice to help you understand the entire cataract surgery procedure and answer some common questions people have. First, let’s start with the preparations.
Pay Attention to Changes in Your Eyes Before Your Cataract Surgery
In the two weeks before your surgery, note any changes that occur with your eyes. Any redness, sensitivity, or swelling should be reported to your doctor. If you see signs of infection, this should be reported as well. With any surgery, you want to ensure you are fully healthy beforehand for a successful procedure.
Discuss Medications With Your Physicians
If you are taking medications, make sure your eye doctor is aware. You can also discuss your upcoming cataract surgery with your general physician to ensure no complications. Some medications can impact how you react to sedatives. If you are taking a blood thinner, your doctor may need you to stop taking it or decrease your dosage before the surgery. Follow their instructions to help ensure there are no issues on the day of surgery.
Take The Prescribed Medication For Surgery
Speaking of medications, your eye doctor may prescribe eye drops before surgery. In most instances, you will need to start using them a few days before the surgery and the day of. If you’ve never used eye drops, talk with your doctor or physician about the proper technique. You want to be mindful not to scratch your eye while administering them. You also want to keep the tip of the drops clean to avoid possible infection.
Do Not Wear Contact Lenses Before Your Cataract Surgery
You will need to stop wearing your contact lenses a few weeks before the surgery. This ensures that your contact lenses do not impair the accurate selection of your lens implant that may delay the procedure.
Wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothes on the day of surgery. You want to be comfortable during the procedure and afterward. Be mindful of the shoes you pick as well. They should be non-slip and easy to get on and off. Additionally, you should bring a pair of dark sunglasses to wear after your cataract surgery.
Follow All Pre-Surgery Instructions
Follow the instructions provided to you prior to surgery. Pay close attention to what you can eat before the cataract surgery as well as when you need to stop eating and drinking. If you eat or drink past that time, the surgery may need to be rescheduled, which is an unnecessary complication (and potential expense) you can easily avoid.
What You Can Expect from Your Cataract Surgery
You may receive sedatives that will help you relax during the surgery and a local anesthetic to numb the area of the eye being operated on. With those, the cataract surgery itself should be fully painless. Typically, it takes up to an hour to perform. Cataracts are an eye condition that is generally simple to treat.
What You Can Expect After the Cataract Surgery Procedure
In most cases, there is no need for the patient to remain at the hospital after the procedure. However, your vision will likely be blurry as your eye adjusts, so you should organize someone to help get back home as you will not be able to drive.
Your vision should start clearing up in the first few days, but you may feel some discomfort and itchiness. Your doctor will schedule appointments to monitor your recovery. Your eye should be fully healed approximately a month after your cataract surgery.
Will You Need to Wear Glasses After Your Cataract Surgery?
You may still need to wear glasses after having the cataract surgery performed. Your overall vision should be much clearer following the procedure, but most people still need to wear glasses after having it done.
Strenuous Activity After Surgery
You will likely be able to perform normal activities within 1 to 3 days after surgery. However, your doctor may advise you to rest for longer. You should avoid physically demanding activities for a few weeks immediately following the procedure. If at all possible, preparing for cataract surgery should also include:
- Taking at least two days off work (and avoid strenuous activities like lifting heavy objects);
- Getting help around the house for a day or two immediately following the surgery so you do not have to stress your body.
Additionally, do not exercise for a few weeks following the procedure.
Ask questions. Any surgery, including cataract surgery, can be scary, and having the answers can help alleviate your worries. You should feel comfortable with your doctor and trust they complete the procedure with skill and efficiency.
Your medical team should be reputable, with excellent customer service that will help you with preparing for cataract surgery and the follow-through. These things can help you feel more at ease heading into surgery.