Cataract Surgery and
Lens Implantation

Before, During and After Cataract Surgery

Before, During and After Cataract Surgery

What happens before cataract surgery?

Prior to surgery, your eye care professional will do some tests. These will include tests to measure the curve of the cornea and the size and shape of the eye. For patients who will receive an IOL, this information helps your doctor choose the best type and refractive strength of IOL. Your doctor will likely ask, that on the day of surgery, you take all of your normal medications and may have special instructions regarding a light breakfast and sometimes not to eat or drink anything after midnight the morning of your surgery.

What happens during cataract surgery?

When you enter the hospital or clinic, you will be given eye drops to dilate the pupil. The area around your eye will be washed and cleansed and sterile
coverings will be placed around your head.

The operation usually lasts less than 30 minutes and is almost painless. Many people choose to stay awake during surgery, while others may need to be put to sleep for a short time. If you are awake, you will have an anesthetic to numb the nerves in and around your eye. You will not have to worry about holding your eye open because an instrument known as a lid speculum will hold your lids open.You will likely see light and movement during surgery, but the eye usually is not uncomfortable. You will be asked to hold your eye still during surgery if you have been given topical anesthetic (drops only).

After the operation, a sheild will be placed over your eye and you will rest for a while and often have a cup of tea or coffee and something to eat. Most people who have cataract surgery go home the same day. Since you will not be able to drive, make sure you make arrangements for a ride.

What happens after cataract surgery?

After surgery, your doctor will schedule exams to check on your progress. Usually your doctor will want to examine you the day following surgery, and then at various intervals after that.

You will also be given a specific schedule of eyedrops to help healing and control the pressure inside your eye. While being especially careful not to put pressure on the eye itself, the area around the operated eye should be gently cleansed in order to remove any excess eye drops or secretions. Ask your doctor how to use your medications, when to take them, and what effects they can have.

You will also need to wear an eye shield at night for the first few days to help protect the eye and avoid rubbing or pressing on your eye while sleeping. It is not necessary to wear the shield during the day and it is usually recommended that you wear your normal eyeglasses during the day. If the operated eye sees much better without the glasses you may wish to remove the eyeglass lens for the operated eye, or if preferred, you may choose not wear your glasses at all.

It's normal to feel itching and mild discomfort for a while after cataract surgery. Some fluid discharge is also common, and your eye may be sensitive to light and touch. If you have discomfort, your eye doctor may suggest a pain reliever. After 1-2 days, even moderate discomfort should disappear. In most cases, healing will take about 6 weeks.

Some common problems can occur after surgery. These may include increased pressure, blurring from swelling, inflammation (pain, redness, swelling), and sometimes bleeding. More rare and serious problems include infection, loss of vision, or light flashes. If you experience increasing pain or a worsening of vision after surgery, you should contact your eye doctor. With prompt medical attention, almost all problems can be treated successfully.

When you are home, do not put your fingers in your eye. and do not to lift heavy objects. Lifting heavy objects increases pressure in the eye. You can walk, climb stairs, and do light household chores.

It is most important to take your drops exactly as directed and be sure to contact your doctor if you experience any problems.

What is a Cataract        Types of Cataracts and the Symptoms         Detecting a Cataract
Cataract Treatment      How is a Cataract Removed        Phacoemulsification Technique
Intraocular Lens Implants                                Before, During, and After Cataract Surgery
When Will My Vision Return to Normal                         What is a YAG Laser Capsulotomy
Risks and Results of Cataract Surgery                                   History of Lens Implantation

For more information contact:
Dr. Murray McFadden
(BSc, MD, FRCS(C), Diplomate of the American
Board of Ophthalmology)

© Copyright 1996-2004 Murray McFadden MD, Inc.

Telephone: (604) 530-3332
Fax: (604) 535-6258
SnailMail: 20434 64th Avenue, Unit #201,
Langley, BC Canada V2Y 1N4

This page last updated on December 30, 2003.
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