What You Should Expect During Cataract Surgery

Whenever people are booked for surgery at a later date, their expectation rises. In reality, if you have scheduled a cataract surgery ahead and are living with some uncertainties, you are not alone. Every other cataract patient has been a victim of what to expect during the surgery.  

To help you beat the pressure, I will give you a complete hint of everything that happens while a cataract surgery session is ongoing. This article will expose you to the procedure process, from what occurs during the preparatory period to the incision process and everything in the surgery room. 

As background knowledge, cataract surgery involves removing and replacing a lens. Typically, the doctor would have to break up the affected natural lens and replace it with a healthy, artificial lens for a better vision. Meanwhile, the artificial lens is not like contact lenses. You don’t have any reason to remove it later. Since it doesn’t require update or repair, your doctor wo9uld have to install it permanently. 

Cataracts make your lens clouded and consequently blur your vision. Hence the goal of cataract surgery is to make your vision clearer and sharper. Let me prepare your mind. Cataract surgery is safe, fast, and straightforward. Unless there are some complications, it takes a short time to complete the procedure. 

So, how does the process go? 

Step 1

Before the surgery, your doctor would give you some sedatives to calm your nerves. You would not feel any pain throughout the cataract surgery session. Although cataract surgery is a painless procedure, sedative drugs are necessary for nervous patients. During cataract surgery, patients are left awake from the beginning to the end of the procedure. That means you will open your eyes widely and see how the doctor makes the incision. Hence, the sedative drugs make you active and responsive to treatment and, at the same time, comfortable. Click here to read about What You Should Expect After A Successful Cataract Surgery.

Step 2

After that, your doctor would administer some numbing medications to your eyes to stabilize them throughout the surgery. The numbing medications are usually in the form of eye drops to enable them to penetrate your eyes. The eye drop will dilate your pupil (the black area at the center of your eye). The pupil has a hole. So, the eye drop is meant to allow light to focus the more into your eyes so that your doctor can see your eyes. 

Step 3

Next, your doctor will make an incision on the side of your cornea (the front part of your eye). That is the most important part of cataract surgery. At this juncture, your surgeon will use a unique instrument to break up the affected lens and remove it piece by piece. During this process, the doctor would ensure that the lens capsule (the thicker outer layer of your lens) stays in place.

Having done that, the doctor would insert a new healthy artificial lens capsule. This new artificial lens can be silicone, acrylic, or plastic. Whichever materials are used, you will feel like a natural lens once it’s fixed into your eyes. This incision is fast and painless. The doctor doesn’t have to make stitches or perform any repairing operation after placing the lens. It will automatically heal after some hours and give you a better vision. 

The cataract surgery process explained above is called phacoemulsification. Though it is laser-assisted and is one of the most practiced cataract procedures, it is not ideal for every cataract patient. Extracapsular is the other type of cataract surgery. This procedure is usually slower as it requires a larger cut and takes stitches to close up. During this procedure, the doctor doesn’t break the affected lens. Instead, he removes it in one piece. This procedure is not for everyone as well. It is rarely performed if the new artificial lens is not flexible enough to fit through a small incision. It can also be recommended if you have specific eye complications. 

How long does cataract surgery take?

How long does cataract surgery take?

On average, cataract surgery for one eye takes an hour. Of course, the professionalism and experience of the surgeon count in the timing. But you should expect up to that in any case. Doctors don’t treat two eyes in a single cataract surgery procedure. If both eyes are affected, he would have to conduct two separate operations.

Specific risks to expect after the surgery

Yes, cataract surgery is safe and painless. It gives you the sharpest possible vision afterward, making life easier and better. You should expect changes after a few hours after surgery, and its result can last for a lifetime. However, like every other surgery, a cataract procedure may have specific abnormalities.  

In rare cases, people experience some visual complications after cataract surgery. some of the risks associated with the procedure may include:

  • Detached retina
  • Bleeding in the eye
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Infections 
  • Increased pressure inside the eye
  • Swelling or inflammation
  • Itching sensation 
  • Sensitivity to light 
  • Partial or total blindness 

You need to understand that the above-listed eye problems are not usual after every cataract surgery. Patients can only experience any of them if they have other eye problems or severe health complications before the surgery or if the procedure goes wrong. For that reason, it is essential that you first expose present your health status and history to your doctor during the consultation. Discussing your health before the surgery will help your doctor curb or minimize the risks of developing any above-listed problems. 

In Conclusion 

Cataract surgery is safe and painless. You don’t have anything to panic about when recommended for the procedure. Meanwhile, it is essential to prepare adequately for the task ahead to feel comfortable during the procedure and avoid abnormalities after the surgery. This article has already provided you with all you need to expect from beginning to end. You can now walk confidently into the surgery room and have a good time.