What is cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is a procedure used to restore cataract-related vision loss. During surgery, the clouded lens inside your eye will be replaced with a clear artificial lens. You won't feel any pain during the procedure, and it usually only takes about 15 minutes. It's typically an outpatient procedure and doesn't require an overnight stay in a hospital.
Cataract surgery might sound scary at first, but it's one of the safest and most effective vision surgeries available today.1
What are the steps during the surgery?
There are no medications or glasses that can treat cataracts. The only effective treatment for this condition is cataract surgery.
Thanks to modern technology, cataract surgery is a painless process which takes only around 15 minutes for each eye and does not require anaesthesia.
During cataract surgery, the clouded, natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens, known as an intraocular lens (IOL) that helps restore the clear vision you had before cataracts developed.
A modern cataract surgery procedure will often follow these steps:2
- A small incision is made along the side of the cornea.
- A high-frequency ultrasound device or laser is used to carefully break up the cloudy lens into small fragments.
- The lens fragments are gently removed from the eye using suction.
- After all fragments have been removed, the surgeon places the IOL behind the pupil and the colored part of the eye (iris) in the same spot your natural lens occupied.
- The incision heals on its own without any stitches.
- A protective shield is placed over the eye to keep it safe during the early stages of recovery.
If you need surgery in both eyes, your cataract surgeon will typically wait one to three weeks between the procedures, to give the first eye a chance to heal.
Which type of IOLs is suitable for you?
Monofocal IOLs correct far vision, however you may need spectacles to see objects located nearby or within intermediate distance.
Bifocal IOLs correct both near and far vision, however you may still need spectacles to see objects located in between.
Trifocal IOLs correct near, intermediate and far vision. Trifocal IOLs offer freedom of spectacles for comfortable vision from all distances. Trifocal IOLs do not only treat cataracts, also eliminate presbyopia.
Toric IOLs correct astigmatism which is a common visual impairment. Trifocal Toric correct blurred vision at all distances related with the astigmatism.
Cataract surgery recovery
An uncomplicated cataract surgery procedure only takes about 15 minutes. You can expect to be at the surgical center for 90 minutes or longer, since extra time will be needed for preparation, along with a post-operative evaluation and recovery instructions.
You will need to have someone drive you home after cataract surgery. To protect your eye from sunlight and other bright light as it recovers, the facility will give you a special pair of post-operative sunglasses.
You will need to use special medicated eye drops for a few weeks. You'll also need to wear your protective eye shield while sleeping or napping for the first week or so.
During at least the first week of your recovery, you will need to avoid:
- Strenuous activity and any lifting over 10 kilos/25 pounds.
- Bending, exercising and any other activities that can stress the eye.
- Exposing your eye to water, since it can cause an infection. You'll need to keep your eye closed while showering or bathing. Avoid swimming or sitting in a hot tub for at least two weeks.
- Any activity that would expose your healing eye to dust, grime or other infection- causing contaminants.3