Cataract surgery is done as an outpatient procedure. It can be done in a hospital or free-standing surgery center. While the surgery itself rarely takes more than 10 minutes it is typical for a patient to spend an hour in preparation before surgery at the center, and an hour recovering afterward. A three-hour total stay is probably typical. During the surgery you will receive some sedative medication, so you will feel relaxed and not anxious, and pain controlling medication.
Your eye will be treated with drops, or possibly an injection of medication around the eye to ensure it is well numbed. The cataract is removed with a tiny incision and an ultrasonic instrument. Once the cataract is safely removed an intraocular implant is placed in the eye. This lens implant makes up for focusing power lost when your biologic lens is removed. See live cataract surgery.
At Eye Associates, we offer four surgical treatment options: Standard, StandardPLUS, Custom and CustomPLUS. The right choice for you depends on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and the overall health of your eyes. We can also make your Cataract Surgery dropless and IV free! Together we will help you choose the option which is best for you following a complete eye exam.
Cataract Surgery is usually quite comfortable and the patient should not feel any pain during the surgery. Mild discomfort for first 24 to 48 hours is not uncommon, which can include slight scratchiness and burning with some tearing. Do I have to wait for my cataract to be “ripe" before surgery?
The concept of a "ripe" cataract is based on older surgery techniques. Surgery is done when your vision is reduced enough that you need help seeing.
This is important to discuss with Dr. Tyson before surgery. Any surgery can result in problems that can leave you with the same or worsened vision. In general, the chance of problems is probably around 4-5%. This means that 95% of patients have some (or a lot of) vision improvement. Cataract Surgery, like any surgical procedure, carries with it the potential for risks and complications. Though rare, the possible risks of surgery include: bleeding, postoperative infection, severe corneal edema, retinal detachment, permanent dilation of the pupil, and even loss of vision. Other complications include the development of astigmatism and drooping of the upper eyelid, both of which are treatable. Cataract Surgery is a common procedure and we make every effort to minimize the chance for any problems to occur during or after surgery. Please read our Cataract Consent Form for a complete list of risks.
We suggest you not lift heavy objects or engage in strenuous activity for a while after surgery (typically three to four weeks). We do not restrict your activity in any way, except limiting swimming for a few days. It does take a few weeks to accurately determine what glasses will work best to supplement vision for distance and/or reading, but during that time you can resume all of your regular activities.
Once a cataract is removed it is not physically possible for it to reform.