Cataract surgery is a commonly performed procedure designed to treat cataracts. Cataracts are cloudy patches that develop on your eye lens, affecting vision significantly when left untreated. At ICT Eye in Wichita, KS, we understand how important clear vision is to your independence and quality of life. That’s why we proudly offer this safe, effective procedure for the treatment of cataracts. Read on to learn more about it, including how long it takes.
How Long Does Cataract Surgery Take?
Generally, cataract surgery can be completed in just half an hour to 45 minutes. During this time, the pupil will be dilated with eye drops and a local anesthetic will numb the eye to ensure you don’t feel any pain during your surgery. If you’re feeling anxious, you can have a sedative administered to calm your nerves, but it may not put you to sleep.
Once you’re ready for surgery, the clouded lens will be removed. Generally, a replacement lens is implanted once the cataract has been removed. However, this is not always the case. Whether you need a replacement lens will be discussed during your initial consultation.
Am I a Good Candidate for This Procedure?
The more your quality of life is impaired by your poor vision, the more likely it is that you will be considered a good candidate for this procedure. For example, if you have trouble watching TV or reading, now may be the right time for you to have your cataracts removed. Similarly, it is probably time for you to get your cataracts removed if you can’t see well enough to drive or do your job safely.
Another sign that you may be a good candidate for cataract removal is struggling to see when in bright light. Additionally, it may be appropriate for you to have your cataracts removed if your ability to take medications, cook, shop, go up and down stairs, or care for your yard is impaired. There is a very strong chance that you will qualify for cataract removal if your cataracts make the monitoring or treatment of other problems, like diabetic retinopathy or AMD hard.
How Should I Prepare for My Procedure?
There are a number of preparation steps you must take prior to cataract surgery. One of the most important preparation steps is to attend an initial consultation to verify that this procedure will be both safe and effective for you. We will also advise you on all of the things you will need to do and avoid for a period of time before and after surgery.
One thing you will need to do before your surgery is to have an ultrasound test conducted on your eye. This lets us know the precise size and shape of your eye so we can determine what intraocular lens (IOL) is appropriate for you.
What Are the Benefits of Different Types of Lenses?
Fixed-focus monofocal lenses are advantageous for people who struggle to see things far away. Thanks to the highly effective single focus strength of this lens type, you may not need to wear glasses when you drive once your eye has healed from the surgery. However, glasses may still be necessary when reading. A toric lens is advantageous for individuals who suffer from significant astigmatism.
Other lens types include multifocal and accommodating-focus monofocal. The former is similar to glasses with progressive or bifocal lenses. It can help you see things that are short, medium, and far distances away. The latter, like a fixed-focus monofocal, only has one focusing strength. However, you do have control over whether you are focusing on distant or near objects by moving your eye muscles.
What Can I Expect After My Surgery?
You can expect to notice an improvement in your vision just a few days after your cataract removal. Often, cataracts are brown- or yellow-tinted, so colors are muted. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to you if you feel like colors are a lot brighter once your cataracts are removed.
Will I Be Able To Drive After My Procedure?
No, you will not be able to drive yourself home after your surgery. For your safety, and for the safety of others on the road, arrange from transportation home before you come in for your cataract removal. How soon after your procedure you can drive depends on several factors, including how long it takes your vision to improve and whether you are taking prescription medications that impair your cognitive function and reaction time.
How Long Will My Recovery Take?
You can expect a full recovery to take approximately eight weeks to complete. During this time, especially during the first week of your recovery, it is highly advisable to have someone with you in your home to help you care for yourself. There will be restrictions on your activities, like bending over and lifting things. It is also important that vigorous exercise and other strenuous physical activity is avoided for several weeks during your recovery.
Will I Need To Wear Glasses After My Surgery?
It is possible that you will need to wear glasses even after your cataracts are removed. However, you may not need to wear them all the time. Approximately one to three months after your surgery, your eyes should be healed enough that you can get an accurate final prescription for your glasses.
There is an exception to this general rule, though. If you have cataracts in both eyes, cataract removal is usually only performed on one eye at a time. Cataract removal for the second eye occurs after the first eye has healed. Therefore, it may be up to six months before you can get a final prescription for eyeglasses.
Do I Have Cataracts?
It is incredibly rare to be able to feel cataracts or see them in the mirror. However, there are symptoms that indicate it may be time to schedule an eye exam and find out whether you have cataracts. One of the most common signs is seeing halos around lights. Other light-related symptoms include increasingly poor night vision, extreme glare and light sensitivity, and needing brighter light for such activities as reading or putting together a puzzle.
You also may have cataracts if you have double vision in one eye or if you need to change your contact lens or eyeglass prescription frequently. If you feel like colors are fading or yellow-tinted, you should strongly consider scheduling an eye exam. Similarly, you may have cataracts if your vision is dim, blurry, or cloudy.
What Causes This Condition?
Most of the time, cataracts are caused by getting older or sustaining a significant injury that changes the tissue comprising the lens. However, your genes are a significant risk factor, and it is possible to develop cataracts because of other medical conditions. For example, diabetes increases the risk of cataract development. As another example, long-term steroid-use can lead to the development of cataracts.
What Are the Most Serious Risk Factors of Cataracts?
Some of the most serious risk factors for cataracts are age, diabetes, previous eye surgery, and long-term corticosteroid drug use. Other serious risk factors include hypertension, tobacco consumption, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, and previous eye inflammation or injury. Furthermore, your risk of developing cataracts increases significantly if you subject yourself to excessive sunlight exposure.
How Can I Mitigate My Risk of Developing Cataracts in the Future?
Two of the most effective steps you can take to mitigate your risk of developing cataracts in the future are to stop smoking and lose weight if you are obese. You can also significantly reduce your risk of cataract development by moderating your alcohol intake and staying hydrated when you drink alcohol.
Obesity, tobacco consumption, and excessive alcohol consumption often go hand in hand with hypertension, another significant risk factor for developing cloudy lenses. You can also reduce your risk of developing cataracts by eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily and wearing sunglasses that block UVB rays when you are outdoors.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
You can generally expect your lens correction procedure to be completed in just 30 minutes. However, in some cases, it can take up to 45 minutes. After your procedure, you are free to go and focus on your recovery in the comfort of your own home. Contact us today at ICT Eye in Wichita, KS to schedule your initial consultation and find out if this procedure is right for you.