Overview of Cataract Surgery
A cataract is a clouding of your eye lens that should normally be clear. People with advanced and untreated cataracts see the world through a smokescreen. The person whose vision is blurred has trouble reading, driving, or understanding people’s expressions. It would not be wrong to say that cataract is somewhat sneaky. It develops slowly and does not affect your vision in the early stages. Until it does.
Cataract surgery is very safe and effective. You do not need to stay in the hospital after the surgery. Your ophthalmologist removes your cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens. You may have much better vision after surgery. Cataract surgery is a very popular procedure today.
Why is Cataract Surgery Done?
The job of the lens in your eye is to refract incoming light and allow you to see. For this to happen, your lens must be clear. When you have a cataract, your lens becomes cloudy and your vision is impaired. Surgery is the only way to get rid of cataracts completely.
If your vision is not significantly impaired, you can continue to live with cataracts with glasses and string lights. However, if you have difficulty doing your daily activities and your vision is blurred, you should prefer cataract surgery. Blurred vision can be as dangerous as it gives you discomfort.
Symptoms of Cataract
- Blurring or dimming of vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Light sensitivity and glare
- Needing more light when reading
- Seeing halos around lights
- Frequent changes in lens or eyeglasses size
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Double vision in one eye
If the cataract is interfering with the treatment of another eye disorder, your ophthalmologist will recommend cataract surgery. For example, your doctor may not be able to examine or treat the back of your eye because of a cataract. Therefore, it becomes impossible to treat disorders such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.
For most patients, delaying cataract surgery is not harmful to the eye. So, you have time to think about your options and needs. If your vision does not deteriorate, you can continue with your life without cataract surgery.
Complications are rare in cataract surgery. Also, ophthalmologists can easily treat most complications.
Cataract surgery includes the following risks:
- Eyelid drooping
- Displacement of the artificial lens
- Retinal detachment
- Eye pressure
- Second cataract
- Loss of vision
If you have a serious health condition or another eye disease that accompanies a cataract, the risk of complications increases. In addition, in some cases, eye damage caused by other eye conditions may cause cataract surgery that does not improve vision. Therefore, before deciding to have cataract surgery, if you have other eye diseases, it may be more sensible to treat them first. Thus, be sure to consider the recommendations of your eye doctor.
How Do You Prepare
You should not eat or drink anything for 12 hours before the surgery. Also, if you are taking any medication that may cause bleeding, you should stop taking it temporarily. If you are using a medicine for prostate problems, be sure to inform your doctor. As some of these drugs can interfere with cataract surgery. In addition, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops for you to use 1-2 days before surgery.
You can go home the day you have cataract surgery. However, you will not be able to drive. So, arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery. You may also need to arrange for someone to assist you at home because your doctor may prohibit activities such as bending or lifting stuff for the week after surgery.
Before Cataract Surgery
One week before surgery, your doctor will perform an ultrasound test to measure the shape and size of your eye. Thus, your doctor can decide on the appropriate lens implant (Intraocular lens, or IOL) for your eye.
The IOL focuses the incoming light towards the back of your eye and improves your vision. You cannot see or feel these artificial lenses and they do not require any maintenance. The IOL becomes part of your eye after surgery.
There are different types of IOL. In consultation with your doctor, you can decide which type is more suitable for you. The price differences between these types can be decisive in your decision. Artificial lenses are produced from silicone, plastic, or acrylic materials. Some IOLs are effective at blocking ultraviolet light. Some are hard plastic. Thus, your doctor will need to stitch the incision. In addition, because most IOLs are flexible, your doctor can make smaller incisions to finish the procedure without stitches. Your surgeon folds this type of lens and places it where your natural retina used to be. Then, the IOL unfolds on its own and takes its new place.
Intraocular Lens Types
Fixed-focus monofocal: Provides distance vision and has a single focusing power. Still, you need glasses to read.
Accommodating-focus monofocal: This lens type also has a single focusing power. However, it responds to movements of the eye muscles and can switch focus between near and far.
Multifocal: Lenses with different focusing power in different regions. Corrects near, far, and middle vision.
Astigmatism correction (toric): If you have advanced astigmatism, you can correct your vision with this lens.
During The Procedure
Firstly, your doctor uses drops to dilate your pupil and administers a local anesthetic. If you are stressed, you can ask your doctor to administer a sedative. You will be awake during the surgery, but you will not be able to see the processes your doctor is performing on your eyes. The procedure simply involves removing the fogged lens and replacing it with the IOL.
Your doctor can remove the cataract lens using these two methods:
Breaking the lens with an ultrasound probe
The medical name for this method is phacoemulsification. Your surgeon makes a tiny incision in the front of your eye (cornea). Then, he/she places a needle-thick probe where the cataract is formed. Next, your surgeon breaks up and removes the cataract by applying ultrasound waves through the probe. Stitches may be needed to close the small incision your doctor made.
Removing the lens in one piece by making an incision in the eye
It is a less preferred method. Its medical name is extracapsular cataract extraction. Your surgeon makes a larger incision and surgically removes the cataract. You may need to opt for this procedure if you have certain eye diseases. Because the incision is larger, suturing is essential.
Your doctor removes the cataract with one of these two methods and places the artificial lens in the emptied lens capsule. The entire procedure takes 1 hour or less.
After Cataract Surgery
Within a few days after cataract surgery, your vision will begin to improve. It’s normal for your vision to be blurry at first as your eye heals and adjusts. Thanks to your new lens, you start to see colors much brighter. You can now perceive colors that you could not see due to the yellow or brown color of the cataract.
You will visit your doctor 2 days after the surgery. Your doctor will examine you again in the next week and the next month and monitor your recovery process.
It is natural for you to feel itching and minor discomfort for 2 days after the operation. Never scratch or apply pressure to your eye. Your doctor may want you to wear an eye patch or protective glasses on the day and night of the surgery. You can use these protectors to preserve the surgical site, especially at night while you sleep.
Your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent infection, reduce inflammation, and control eye pressure. In some cases, the ophthalmologist may inject these drugs into the eye during surgery.
Itching and other minor discomforts disappear within 2 days. The healing process is usually completed within 8 weeks. In addition, if you experience problems, such as loss of vision, excessive redness of the eyes, pain that does not respond to medication, eyelid swelling, bursts of light, or multiple spots, contact your doctor immediately.
Cataract surgery has been successful in improving vision in the majority of cases. The risk of complications of the operation is low and the effect on the vision is great. If you have cataracts in both eyes, your doctor will treat the second eye once the first eye has healed.
If you suffer from blurred vision and restriction of your daily activities, cataract surgery may be the procedure that can bring your life back to normal.
For More Information
In Istanbul Medical Assistance your comfort during or after all kinds of procedures is our priority. Whether you are looking for more information, an initial evaluation, or a second opinion, do not hesitate to contact us via Whatsapp at +90 530 884 47 22 and we will get back to you as quickly as we can.