Cataract Surgery (What to Expect)

Cataracts Surgery - What to Expect

Dr. Whitman: Hello. I’m Dr. Jeffrey Whitman and our Key-Whitman cataract surgery team is joining me today. Welcome to the Key-Whitman Eye Center. If you are viewing this video it is likely because you have been told you have cataracts.

What should I expect on surgery day?

Dr. Hong: You will arrive at the Surgery Center at the time of your scheduled surgery appointment. We ask that you bring someone with you who can remain during surgery and be able to drive you home afterwards. Please let them know that they will need to be available for about 2 hours. If you are scheduled for surgery before noon, you will not be allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight the night prior to your surgery. If your surgery is scheduled in the afternoon, you will be allowed to have a light breakfast but only before 7:00 a.m. If you are diabetic, please do not take your insulin or your diabetes medicine prior to surgery, but do remember to bring it with you on surgery day. If you take any daily medicine prior to your surgery arrival time, please either wait until after surgery or take it with a small sip of water.

Surgery Preparation

Dr. Warren: You need to dress comfortably with a top that buttons up the front but leave all jewelry and other valuables at home. As you are called back to surgery, you will be asked to lie down on a bed where you will remain until after your procedure. For your care and safety, we will monitor your heart rate, oxygen levels and blood pressure. A nurse anesthetist will begin an IV and administer some medication to help you relax, but you will be awake and fully breathing on your own during your surgery. For a brief few moments, you will be given IV medicine that will put you in a twilight sleep while the doctor or anesthetist numbs the eye to prepare you for your surgery. Soon you will be taken to the operating room where your doctor will perform microscopic cataract surgery.

Femtosecond Laser

Dr. Whitman: Your surgeon, based on your candidacy, may decide to use a femtosecond laser to perform some of the delicate parts of the procedure. The cataract will be dissolved and suctioned out with special ultrasound technology known as phacoemulsification. Once the cataract is removed, your surgeon will implant the previously selected lens implant.

What happens after surgery?

Dr. Haq: After surgery, you will either have just a piece of tape or a gauze eye pad and tape covering your eye. You will be taken to our recovery area and your family member will join you to go over your specific postoperative instructions. You should not feel pain, but if you do notice a headache, please take what you usually take for pain and if you don’t find relief, please call us. Once the numbing medication wears off, you will begin to be able to blink. At this point you may take the single piece of tape off and begin your drop regimen. If you are wearing a gauze eye pad, we will remove it when you return the day after surgery. Everyone heals differently and each eye heals differently. Please don’t be alarmed if you notice that you cannot see clearly as it may take several days and even weeks to recover from surgery. In fact, the evening of surgery, you may notice double or triple vision and you may notice funny colors. This is a result of the numbing medication and will resolve soon. It is important to use your drops exactly as prescribed and bring them with you to each and every postoperative visit. You may wash your face, shower and wash your hair after surgery, just be careful not to allow soapy water to get in to your eyes and do not rub or put any pressure on the eye. For the first 10 days, always wear your glasses or sunglasses during waking hours to protect the eye and you will be sent home with a plastic shield and a roll of tape to use while showering and during sleep that will offer additional protection.

Vision after Cataract Surgery

Dr. Whitman: As you leave on surgery day, please stop by the optical shop as you will likely need to replace the lens in your glasses with a clear lens as the pre-surgery prescription will be too strong. They can do this for a very low cost. It is very important that we see you back the next day after surgery. We will check your eye pressure and your vision and review all your postoperative instructions. Please bring your drops with you to each visit as you may receive changes in your drop schedule and it will be important to confirm what you are using. Very soon, you will be able to return to your normal activities.

Everyone is different and only you can decide when it is safe to drive and return to work. If you need the other eye done, we will confirm that date at your second postoperative visit. I hope this video helps to answer some of your questions and we look forward to helping you see better soon.

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