I'm Nervous About Cataract Surgery: What Can I Expect?

I'm Nervous About Cataract Surgery: What Can I Expect?

Cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens, is a common condition, especially among older adults. Fortunately, a quick and easy surgical procedure can correct the problem.

At Omphroy Eye Care, board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Luis Omphroy performs cataract surgery for our patients in Aiea, Hawaii, who develop this problem. 

If you’re scheduled to have cataract surgery, here’s what you need to know about cataracts and what you can expect from the procedure.

How does a cataract form?

Your eye contains a clear lens near the front of the organ that bends incoming light to focus it on the retina at the back of your eye. The retina encodes the information and sends it to your brain as an electrical signal via the optic nerve.

As you age, the lens becomes more rigid, less transparent, and thicker.  More rigid means it can’t focus light as finely as before, and the retinal image may be blurry. Thicker leads proteins within the lens to break down and clump. All together, this forms a cataract.

The cloudy lens makes everything appear like you’re viewing it through a sepia-toned, fogged-up window. This type of sight loss interferes with reading, driving a car (especially at night), and even recognizing facial expressions.

In addition to aging, cataracts can form due to injury, genetic disorders, previous eye surgery, long-term use of steroid medications, and underlying medical conditions like diabetes.

The cataract may start small, but as it matures, the clouding becomes denser and more widespread, blocking and scattering the light as it moves through the lens instead of refining the focus. As a result, your vision becomes even more blurred.

Cataracts generally develop in both eyes, but they develop independently. That means your vision may differ between your eyes.

Cataract surgery: What you can expect

The only way to fix a cataract is through surgery. Removing and replacing the damaged lens with an artificial lens is considered the gold-standard treatment. 

Depending on what type of lens correction you and Dr. Omphroy decide is right for you, you may or may not have to wear glasses or contacts following the surgery. 

Dr. Omphroy uses the CATALYS™ Precision Laser System to perform the cataract surgery. Before he starts, he puts numbing drops in your eye so you won’t feel a thing, and he may also offer an oral sedative to keep you relaxed during the procedure. You’re awake the entire time. 

Using the CATALYS, Dr. Omphroy makes incisions in the eye and softens the lens to make it easier to remove. He follows this with the state-of-the-art ultrasonic Whitestar Signature® Pro that liquifies and coagulates the lens so he can remove it safely and completely. 

He replaces any removed eye fluid with a saline solution to maintain your eye shape. Dr. Omphroy then places a new intraocular lens into the eye, restoring your vision.

Tips to prepare for cataract surgery

You know what to expect from the procedure, but is there anything else you need to do to get ready? Yes, and here they are.

Keep your pre-op appointment

About a week before the surgery, Dr. Omphroy measures the size and shape of your eye. This allows him to choose the right kind of intraocular lens. It’s also an ideal time to ask him any questions about what he expects from you pre- and post-surgery.

Use your eyedrops

Dr. Omphroy may prescribe antibiotic eyedrops to prevent infection before and/or after surgery. Use them exactly as directed.

Stop taking some medications

Certain medications, such as blood thinners, can increase your risk for bleeding during and/or after the surgery. Tell Dr. Omphroy about everything you take, and he’ll let you know which medications you need to stop before the procedure.

Clean your eyelids and eyelashes

The night before the surgery and again the following morning, Dr. Omphroy may ask you to clean your eyelids and eyelashes with baby shampoo. This eliminates any unwanted pathogens that could cause an infection.

Is your vision less colorful than it used to be? Is it becoming increasingly blurry, too? It’s likely you have a cataract, and Omphroy Eye Care can help. To set up a consultation with Dr. Omphroy, give our office a call today.

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