What to Expect Before, During, and After Cataract Surgery

What to Expect Before, During, and After Cataract Surgery

The cloudy eye lenses called cataracts affect an estimated 20 million Americans over the age of 40, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 6 million of these people have undergone surgery to remove affected lenses, which are then usually replaced with an artificial lens, restoring normal vision. 

The cataract surgery specialists at IC Laser Eye Care lead the way in cataract treatment through the greater Philadelphia area, offering laser-assisted procedures to their patients. We’ve prepared this guide to help you understand the process before, during, and after your cataract surgery.

How cataracts develop

Cataracts usually form as a byproduct of aging, because of medical conditions, or as a result of an eye injury. Genetic factors may put you at greater risk of forming cataracts, too. The lens of the eye becomes cloudy as the proteins within the lens break down, turning the normally transparent lens cloudy. This process usually develops slowly, over years. Cataracts typically affect both eyes, but they don’t always develop along the same timeline. 

What to expect before, during, and after cataract surgery

While cataract procedures are typically outpatient procedures lasting an hour or less, they’re still surgeries requiring planning, preparation, and after care. 

Before the procedure

In the weeks leading up to your surgery, medications may be the focus of your preparation. Our ophthalmologist evaluates any meds you’re currently taking and how they might affect your procedure. We’ll provide you with instructions about when to discontinue drugs that might cause problems, if you’re taking any. We may also prescribe antibiotic eye drops for use a day or two before surgery. 

You won’t be able to drive immediately after your procedure, so be sure to arrange transportation. You’ll likely have an ultrasound test a week ahead of your surgery to measure your eye and determine the type of replacement lens needed to complete the procedure. 

During the procedure

Typically, we perform cataract surgery with laser assistance. Lasers allow for precise incisions beyond the capability of traditional blade procedures, offering a safe and reliable approach to your lens replacement. Removing your clouded lens occurs first and, in most cases, we implant an artificial lens in the empty lens capsule of the eye. 

After the procedure

You can expect blurred vision immediately after your procedure, but this begins to improve quickly. Depending on the level of advancement of your cataracts, your first impressions may be of a brighter and more colorful world, now that you’re looking through a clear lens again. 

Your eye may feel itchy or irritated. Avoid rubbing or touching your eye, which might interfere with proper healing. Within days of your procedure, our ophthalmologist checks on your progress. There will be progress checks about one week and one month after your surgery, too. It takes about two months for your eye to heal completely. 

Find out more about cataract procedures by booking a consultation with the nearest office of IC Laser Eye Care. Cataract surgery is fast and painless and quickly restores vibrance to your world. Schedule your appointment today. We have offices in Philadelphia and Bensalem, Pennsylvania, and Hamilton, New Jersey.

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