If you have cataracts, you know that living with them can make it harder to accomplish even the simplest of activities. The only way to effectively treat cataracts is by having cataract surgery.
But does cataract surgery mean that you will regain all your vision lost because of cataracts? Keep reading to learn more!
What happens to the eye when you have cataracts?
Cataracts may be a natural part of the aging process, but that doesn’t make them any easier to live with. When you have a cataract, it means that the natural lens of the eye has clouded over.
This happens because proteins in the eye start to break down and eventually clump together. As these proteins clump together, they make it harder and harder to see.
This is why you experience vision problems like blurry vision, double vision, glare, light sensitivity, and loss of contrast. At first, you might not notice that you have a cataract since they can take years to fully develop. Cataract removal is only recommended once your cataract starts to impact your way of life.
How does cataract surgery work?
Diagnostic Eye Center is proud to offer our patients laser cataract surgery, which is the most state-of-the-art technology available for cataract surgery. Laser cataract surgery uses the LenSx Laser, which replaces many of the steps that had to be done by hand during traditional cataract surgery.
It also removes the use of any blades and increases precision, allowing patients to achieve the best possible results. During cataract surgery, you’ll receive a mild oral or IV sedation to relax before the procedure, followed by numbing eye drops.
After the eye drops have completely spread over the surface of the eye, your Diagnostic Eye Center surgeon will use the LenSx femtosecond laser. The laser creates small incisions at the front of the eye and makes a small opening in the capsule.
This opening gives your surgeon access to the cataract. Removing the cataract involves a procedure called phacoemulsification. During phacoemulsification, an ultrasonic probe is used to dissolve the cataract.
After dissolving the cataract, an intraocular lens (IOL) is then placed into the eye to take the place of the natural lens. The IOL is what allows you to see clearly after cataract surgery!
What is the recovery period like after cataract surgery?
Like any surgical procedure, there is a recovery period after having cataract surgery. When you have laser cataract surgery, there is a shorter recovery time than traditional cataract surgery, because using the LenSx laser softens the lens before removing it.
This results in less swelling and faster visual recovery for cataract surgery patients. It is quite common for cataract surgery patients to experience symptoms like blurry or cloudy vision for the first few days after surgery.
It can take your eyes some time to get used to the new IOL. Your eyes may also be red or bloodshot, but this should go away after a few days.
You may feel some slight pain or discomfort but it shouldn’t be more than a slight annoyance. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers to take the edge off any pain you may be in.
While recovering, make sure you’re taking it easy. For the safest recovery, try to follow these tips:
● Do not bend over with your head below your waist for one week after having cataract surgery to reduce putting pressure on your eye
● Avoid any heavy lifting for at least one week after cataract surgery
● Do your best to not come into contact with common irritants like pollen, dust, and dirt
● Do not go swimming or use hot tubs the first week after you have cataract surgery
● Avoid rubbing your eye after having cataract surgery for at least one week
● Be very careful to not bump into anything like walls or doors after having cataract surgery
Above all, use this time to relax and let your body recover. Having any kind of surgical procedure can take its toll, so you shouldn’t try to do too much too quickly.
When will I regain my clear eyesight after cataract surgery?
One of the great things about having cataract surgery is knowing that you’ll finally be able to see clearly again. When you will regain your clear eyesight depends, however.
This varies from patient to patient and depends on the rate of individual recovery. Many patients report that their vision is clear only a few hours after cataract surgery.
You may find that it takes a week or two before you see the world around you with clarity once more. You’ll also need to see your eye doctor at Diagnostic Eye Center for a follow-up appointment the day after your procedure.
This is to ensure there are no complications. If you’re concerned that your vision hasn’t improved or you’re in a lot of pain several days after cataract surgery, speak up!
Let your cataract surgeon know, as it could be a sign of a complication or an infection. Make sure you continue to take the antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops prescribed to you as well, as they are a crucial part of the recovery process after cataract surgery.
What if my vision is still blurry even after cataract surgery?
If you’ve had cataract surgery and your vision is still blurry or hazy, you may have a common condition called posterior capsule opacification (PCO). PCO, also sometimes called a “secondary cataract”, occurs when the capsule that holds the IOL in place gets obstructed by epithelial cells from the lens.
This causes blurry vision and glare at night, much like the symptoms of having a cataract. The good news is that PCO is easy to treat with a procedure called a YAG Laser Capsulotomy.
During a YAG Laser Capsulotomy, a laser creates a central opening in the hazy capsule, which allows light to pass through it. This then takes care of any blurry vision and lets you finally see clearly after cataract surgery!
PCO can develop anywhere between a few weeks to several years after cataract surgery, but a YAG Laser Capsulotomy is typically not performed until at least three months after the initial cataract surgery to ensure that the eye has fully healed.
Ready to have cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Diagnostic Eye Center in Houston, TX now! Isn’t it time to see clearly and say goodbye to your cataracts for good?