Have you or a loved one found out that you have cataracts? It’s natural if you’re a little nervous or unsure about what to expect.
Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures performed in the United States! Keep reading for 6 frequently asked questions about cataract surgery to set your mind at ease.
1. What happens during cataract surgery?
If you have a cataract that’s impeding your vision, cataract surgery is the only way to treat it. During cataract surgery, your cataract surgeon will remove the natural lens of your eye and replace it with an artificial lens.
At Diagnostic Eye Center in Houston, Texas we perform both traditional and laser cataract surgery. Our practice offers laser cataract surgery, as it is the most state-of-the-art way to perform cataract surgery.
There are no blades and no pain during laser cataract surgery! That’s because numbing eye drops are applied to your eye before the procedure. This means you will never feel any pain during cataract surgery.
Once your eyes are numb, we will make small incisions in the front of your eye with a femtosecond laser. This creates a tiny opening in the capsule of your eye, allowing access to the cataract.
From there, the cataract is then removed with a process called phacoemulsification. Phacoemulsification isn’t painful and uses an ultrasonic probe to dissolve the cataract.
Once dissolved, the cataract-ridden lens can be safely removed through the incisions. You can’t see well without a lens, so we replace it with an artificial lens or IOL.
The IOL takes over the job that the lens was doing, and leaves you with beautiful, clear vision!
2. Is cataract surgery painful?
No, cataract surgery isn’t painful! Thanks to the numbing eye drops applied to the surface of the eye before the procedure, you won’t feel any pain.
These drops will wear off a few hours after cataract surgery. Once this occurs, you may experience some minor discomfort.
3. Can I get cataracts again after having them removed?
No, you can’t have cataracts again because there is nowhere for a cataract to grow. Cataracts occur because of proteins in the lens of the eye clumping together slowly over time.
What can happen after cataract surgery is something known as a “secondary cataract”. With a secondary cataract, you develop a haze in the membrane that holds your IOL in place.
This can cause symptoms that are like those you experienced when you had a cataract. These can include blurred vision or glare at night.
If you do have a secondary cataract, we can easily treat it with a procedure called a YAG Laser Capsulotomy! A YAG Laser Capsulotomy is quick and painless and can be performed by one of our eye surgeons.
4. Will I have both cataracts removed at the same time?
If you have a cataract, it is possible to have one in each eye.
In most cases, we will not remove both cataracts at the same time, for the safety of the patient.
Recovering from cataract surgery is often a delicate time for many patients.
It can be more difficult than normal to get around when you can’t see as well as you’re used to out of both eyes. It’s also important to not injure your eye after cataract surgery while it’s still healing.
If you were to fall, you could damage the incisions made during laser cataract surgery. It would be even harder to get through cataract surgery recovery if you were doing so on both eyes at the same time.
For the best results, we recommend waiting at least a week between eyes for cataract surgery.
5. What’s recovery like after cataract surgery?
While you are recovering after cataract surgery, it’s important to take it easy! You should avoid any strenuous activities, as well as bending.
You should also do your best to avoid getting water in your eyes during your recovery period. Water is the perfect place for bacteria to breed, and during recovery, your eyes are more susceptible to infection.
To be on the safe side, don’t go swimming in any bodies of water for several weeks. This means pools, hot tubs, lakes, or the ocean.
If you know you’ll have difficulty getting around, ask a family member to help out. This can include having them cook or do your laundry or come and help with chores.
It’s important to be careful with your eyes while recovering from cataract surgery. Your vision may be hazy, or blurry for a few days after the procedure. This is normal and will usually go away on its own.
If it seems like something is wrong, or you’re in pain that won’t go away, let your doctor know. This could be a sign of a complication or an infection that needs immediate attention.
6. Can I have cataract surgery if I don’t have cataracts?
If you don’t have cataracts, you may be a candidate for a procedure called Refractive Lens Exchange or RLE. RLE is different than cataract surgery because there is no cloudy lens to remove.
Instead, during RLE, the natural lens that isn’t cloudy gets removed and replaced with an IOL. RLE is often chosen for patients who are very farsighted or have early cataracts.
Have more questions about cataract surgery and what to expect during the procedure? Schedule a cataract screening at Diagnostic Eye Center in Houston, TX now!