When cataracts progress enough that they have a negative impact on your lifestyle and daily activities, you should start to consider cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed procedures in the United States. In addition to removing cataract, cataract surgery offers refractive benefits that translates into better eyesight than you had even before the development of cataracts. However, when to have cataract surgery, what kinds of lens to have implanted, and what type of surgery to have will be unique to you, based on your eyes, your health, and your vision preferences.
Before your surgery, you will undergo a cataract evaluation. Because your ophthalmologist will need a lot of information about your eyes to prepare for the surgery, you should expect this evaluation to last a couple of hours.
At the Marietta Eye Clinic, the cataract evaluation begins with an ophthalmic technician, who will ask about your current medications, medical history, and how your cataract symptoms are impacting your day-to-day life. You will then undergo a variety of diagnostic tests to determine the shape of your eye, which will determine the best type of lens and lens power for your lens replacement.
Next, you will meet with the ophthalmologist who will perform your surgery. Your surgeon will discuss your symptoms and vision concerns with you. They will also conduct a dilated exam to rule out the possibility of other eye diseases that could be impacting your vision.
Before you leave, a surgery coordinator will schedule your surgery date, review your insurance coverage, and coordinate any other medical appointments you may require before surgery, such as with a cardiologist, a pulmonologist, or a primary care doctor.
Cataract surgery typically takes 20 minutes, though you should plan to be in the surgery center between 2.5 and 5 hours. Before the surgery, anesthetic eye drops will be administered. Most patients report very little discomfort during cataract surgery. Three small incisions will be made in the cornea. A small ultrasound handpiece will be inserted and used to break up the cataract. The cataract pieces will then be suctioned out. The replacement intraocular lens you and your eye surgeon have decided on will then be inserted. You will not be able to feel this lens. In most cases, stitches are not required and the incisions will self-seal. Cataract surgery at the Marietta Eye Clinic is performed on an outpatient basis, so you will be able to go home afterward. Make sure to arrange to have someone stay with you during the surgery and drive you home.
Cataract surgery at the Marietta Eye Clinic is performed on one eye at a time. The eye usually heals in about 4 weeks. Most patients will need glasses for some activities after surgery, but the level of dependency on glasses should be greatly reduced. Depending on the type of intraocular lenses that are implanted, you may require glasses for fine print or in dim lighting.
If you are experiencing symptoms of cataracts and you feel they are holding you back, it might be time to schedule a consultation with your ophthalmologist. Your surgical team will guide you every step of the way to help you make the best decision for your health and your vision goals.
Dr. Dublin is an ophthalmologist with the Marietta Eye Clinic who specializes in glaucoma and cataracts. Dr. Dublin received her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Texas and her medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center. Dr. Dublin is a member of the American Glaucoma Society, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Medical Association, the Houston Ophthalmological Society, the Texas Medical Association, and the Texas Ophthalmological Association. Read her full bio here.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. It describes itself as a “global community of 32,000 medical doctors who protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public.” Its website is a great resource to learn more about how to care for your eyes.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) describes itself as the leading authority on quality care and an advocate for our nation’s health, representing more than 44,000 doctors of optometry, optometric professionals, and optometry students.
What Are Cataracts?
Cataract Diagnosis and Treatment
IOL Implants: Lens Replacement After Cataracts
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