Your cataracts have taken several years to develop to the point where your vision is affected. The cloudy lens causes objects to be blurry and lights take on a characteristic halo around them. Surgery to remove the cataracts removes the fog and allows you to see clearly again. Here is what you can expect from this surgery and how it will improve your eyesight.
One at a Time
Laser cataract surgery is a common procedure and is done in your doctor's office with only a local anesthesia. Cataracts most often occur in both eyes, but your doctor will only do one at a time. This gives the first eye a chance to heal and your vision to improve before the second eye is done. Once you see the results in the first eye, you'll be eager to have the second surgery.
Get Help To and From Your Appointment
Have a friend or family member be available to take you to your surgical appointment and back home after it is completed. Some of the medication the doctor puts into your eye causes you to be sensitive to light. This makes driving unsafe for several hours after the procedure. Be safe and get some help before your appointment.
You will sit in a comfortable chair that reclines slightly, giving your doctor better access to your eye. They will put two sets of drops into your eye. The first is a local anesthetic which numbs the eye so you'll feel no pain during the procedure. The second drops dilate the pupil to give your doctor a better view of the cloudy lens.
Once the drops have taken effect, the doctor will make a small incision in the tissue that contains the cloudy lens. During laser cataract surgery, the lens is broken up into small pieces which are then removed from the eye. This leaves the tissue intact that will hold the artificial lens.
With the cloudy lens removed, an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL), is put into place. This lens will have some vision correcting capability and it is unaffected by future cataract development. Once the lens is in place and properly positioned, your eye is bathed with an antibiotic fluid to prevent infection and the procedure is completed. No suture is required in the incision for it to heal properly.
After the Surgery
You'll rest in a quiet area in the doctor's office for several minutes. When your doctor is satisfied that you're not having any unusual reactions to the surgery, your friend can take you home.
You'll have a slight ache in your eye for a few days until the swelling caused by the surgery goes away. An over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, will be enough to control the pain.
You'll also begin to see your vision improve as the swelling goes down. You'll have a follow up visit with your doctor, a few days after the surgery, to check on your progress. They will also evaluate your vision to determine what, if any, corrective lenses you may need to have normal vision.