The Cataract Journey: Before, During and After

Inside your eye, you have a natural lens that focuses light onto your retina. A cataract occurs when this lens becomes cloudy, which affects the light passing through clearly. Cataracts are a common vision problem that can occur at any age and can significantly affect your quality of life. They are most commonly caused by ageing; however, certain medications, some general health conditions, or eye injuries can also contribute to early cataract growth.

Cataract surgery is a highly effective and safe procedure that often results in significantly improved vision. During surgery, your cataract surgeon removes the cloudy natural lens and replaces it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). At Nexus Eyecare, we use the latest diagnostic technology and surgical techniques to provide our patients with the best possible visual outcomes following cataract surgery. In this blog, we share what to expect before, during, and after your cataract journey with us.

Initial Consultation With Your Cataract Surgeon
Before cataract surgery, most patients present with symptoms of:

  • Reduced clarity, blurry or cloudy vision
  • Increased glare and difficulty focusing from light to dark spaces
  • Trouble with haloes at night, especially when driving

If not treated, cataracts continue to progress, causing increased symptoms and further vision loss.

During your initial consultation, your cataract surgeon will thoroughly examine your eye health and discuss your treatment options. Cataract surgery can be performed at any stage of cataract development; the decision to operate is mostly dependent on the degree of visual impairment and how much the cataract is affecting your daily life.

Once the decision to operate has been made, additional specialised tests are used to carefully measure your eye and calculate which lens will achieve the best vision for you. There are several different IOLs available. Your cataract surgeon will discuss and explain all the lens choices and help you choose which lens will work best for you and your lifestyle. It is important to understand the types of IOL available. To discover more, read our blog: What is an IOL and which one is the best fit for your lifestyle?

Prior To Your Surgery

The hospital will contact you a few days before the surgery with an admission time and fasting details. Your cataract surgeon will have discussed any medications that you are taking and provided instructions for them when you booked in for your surgery.

It is advisable to wash your hair, so you can avoid hair washing for a few days after your surgery.

On The Day Of Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is usually performed as an outpatient (day surgery) procedure. The cataract surgery only takes approximately 15-30 minutes; however, you will be at the surgery facility for longer to prepare your eye before surgery and allow for a brief recovery period afterwards.

Cataract surgery is performed by a cataract surgeon using local anaesthesia, which means you will be awake but won’t feel any pain. The reason local anaesthesia is preferred over general anaesthesia is:

  • Better patient safety: general anaesthesia carries a higher risk of complications than local anaesthesia
  • Faster recovery: Patients recover faster from a local anaesthetic; they often feel better afterwards and can return home on the same day
  • Cost-effective: Local anaesthesia is less expensive for the patient

 

In rare cases, where a patient cannot tolerate local anaesthesia or has special medical conditions, general anaesthesia may be used, but this is not the standard practice for cataract surgery.

During the surgery, the cataract surgeon will create a tiny incision in your eye to access the cataract. The cataract is then removed through the incision, and an IOL is inserted to replace the natural lens. The incision is so small that it does not usually require any stitches; instead, it seals naturally. Your eye is then covered with a protective shield to prevent accidental rubbing or pressure on the wound. The shield is worn overnight and removed the next day at your postoperative visit.

After surgery, you will spend some time in a recovery area before heading home.

After Cataract Surgery

The day after your surgery, you will return to our clinic, your shield will be removed, and your cataract surgeon will examine your eye. One of the most remarkable aspects of cataract surgery is the rapid improvement in vision. Many patients report significantly clearer and more vibrant vision shortly after the procedure. While the initial visual improvement is often swift, it can take a few days to weeks to reach optimal clarity. Remember, everybody is different, every eye is different, and your recovery will depend on you and the health of your eye. Some do’s and don’ts following cataract surgery include:

Do’s

Don’ts

After surgery, you will be given some eye drops to use. Eye drops prevent infection and reduce inflammation. Make sure you use the eye drops as directed by your cataract surgeon.

Do not rub your eye, and try to avoid getting any water in the eye when showering and washing your face. Try to avoid washing your hair for the first few days if possible.

No swimming, even with goggles on.

Try to rest, be patient, and let your body heal!

You can gradually resume light activities, such as walking, reading, and watching TV.

Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous activities, and excessive bending to prevent pressure and strain on the eye.

Make sure you attend your postoperative appointments so your cataract surgeon can monitor your progress and ensure your eye is healing correctly.

Do not drive; your cataract surgeon will advise when you are ready to return to driving.

The benefits of cataract surgery can extend beyond visual improvement. Patients often regain their independence, for some, it means they can return to everyday activities like driving or reading that were once hindered by cataract development.

To find out if cataract surgery is right for you, visit Nexus Eyecare and let us guide you on your journey to brighter, clearer vision.