What to Expect During and After Cataract Surgery

About 90% of people have a cataract by the time they’re 65 years old. It’s one of the most common causes of vision loss, but the good news is that cataract surgery is a safe and reliable option to restore your vision.

When you’re younger, the lens of your eye is naturally clear. A cataract develops when proteins in your eye break down over the years, which causes the lens to get cloudy. Cataract surgery removes your cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL).

Our capable team at Ethos Medical Group, located in Orange, California, regularly treats men and women with cataract surgery to help them see clearly again. With a comprehensive cataract exam, we diagnose your eye condition and often recommend surgery to improve your vision.

Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most successful procedures around, but it’s normal to be nervous. Read on to find out what to expect during and after your cataract surgery.

What happens during cataract surgery

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that generally takes 15 minutes. Plan to be in our office for about an hour and a half, including prep and recovery time. The goal of surgery is to remove your natural clouded lens and replace it with an IOL that fits your eye and improves your vision.

Before the day of your surgery, our team will perform an eye exam. We’ll give you instructions for preparing for cataract surgery, which may include temporarily stopping certain medications, using prescription eye drops, or fasting for several hours before you come in for cataract surgery.

On the day of your surgery, we begin by numbing your eye. We may give you an oral medication to help relieve and anxiety and promote relaxation. You’ll be awake during the surgery, but you won’t feel pain and you won’t be able to see what the doctor is doing.

Your surgeon looks through a specialized microscope to view your lens. We make a small incision on your eye, break up the clouded lens with a high-frequency ultrasound device, and gently remove the fragments.

After the old lens is gone, your eye is fitted with your new IOL. In most cases, stitches aren’t necessary to close the incision. We’ll move you to a recovery room, where you’ll rest under observation for a short time.

Recovering from cataract surgery

Around 15-30 minutes after your cataract surgery is complete, you can go home. Be sure to bring a friend with you to your appointment, because you won’t be able to drive immediately after cataract surgery.

You’ll get prescription eye drops to stimulate healing and prevent infection. Use them as directed, several times a day for the first few weeks after cataract surgery.

The incisions on the surface of your eye need time to heal following surgery. Expect to wear a protective eye shield when you sleep and eye protection during the day as instructed by our team.

Avoid rubbing your eyes or getting soap and water in them. You may need to avoid strenuous exercise, bending over, swimming, and other activities for several weeks after cataract surgery.

It’s normal for eyes to be slightly redder or drier than usual following surgery, and you might notice blurry vision. However, these symptoms should fade in a few days to a few weeks.

Be sure to attend your follow-up appointments after cataract surgery. At these appointments, we’ll evaluate your eye and vision to determine when it’s safe to drive and participate in all your regular activities once again.

When your vision isn’t as crisp and colors aren’t as bright as they used to be, it could be cataracts. Trust your eyes to the cataract surgeons at Ethos Medical Group. Call or book a consultation online to learn more.

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