Posted by: Focal Point Vision in Blog

It can be a challenge to mentally prepare for any procedure, even for some of the most commonly performed procedures, like cataract surgery. Fortunately, cataract surgery is incredibly safe and fast, so prep time is minimal. 

However, there are some things you should know before you schedule that operation date. Keep reading to learn six important things about cataract surgery so you know what to expect!

1. Cataract Surgery is Very Common and Highly Successful

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in medicine today. During cataract surgery, your cataract surgeon will remove the natural lens in the eye that has become clouded over by a cataract. 

First, your cataract surgeon will make a tiny incision in the cornea, which is the clear covering at the front of the eye. Then, they will use a technique called phacoemulsification to break up the lens with ultrasound waves. 

The fragmented lens pieces are gently suctioned out. An artificial intraocular lens (IOL) implant is inserted to replace the natural lens and permanently restore transparency.

Cataract surgery is a quick and easy outpatient procedure that lasts about thirty minutes. Given the safety and efficacy of modern cataract surgery techniques, you can look forward to having a safe procedure and excellent vision outcome.

2. Make Arrangements For Someone to Drive You Home after Surgery

Since your vision will likely be blurry after the procedure, you will be unable to drive yourself home afterwards. Therefore, it is important to make arrangements ahead of time for someone to drive you home and stay with you for a few hours to help you prepare for recovery.

Have a trusted family member, loved one, or friend pick you up and drop you off at home when you are discharged. Choose someone you can rely on to carefully follow any post-surgical instructions provided by your cataract surgeon’s team at Focal Point Vision. 

3. Follow Your Eye Doctor’s Pre-Op Instructions Carefully 

Prior to your scheduled cataract surgery, your cataract surgeon will provide detailed instructions to prepare for the procedure. It is extremely important to follow these directions carefully from the weeks and days leading up to your operation right up until surgery day. 

For example, your eye doctor may recommend adjusting or temporarily stopping certain medications that could interfere with healing. They may prescribe antibiotic eye drops to lower infection risk or special eyedrops to dilate your pupils pre-procedure.

Don’t hesitate to clarify anything you are unsure about. Ask questions and take notes so you understand what you need to do and when. 

4. Long-Term Follow-Up Care is Crucial

While cataract surgery is extremely effective in restoring vision, long-term follow-up care with your ophthalmologist is crucial for maintaining your eye health. Do not assume you can simply have cataract surgery and then skip regular eye exams afterward.

Cataract removal does not eliminate the need for ongoing prevention and monitoring of other age-related eye diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy. During post-op appointments over the months and years following your procedure, your ophthalmologist will examine your eyes and vision. 

They will assess how well your eye has healed while checking for potential complications. Regular exams safeguard the eye against developing new issues that could threaten your vision and your quality of life. 

5. You Will Notice Improved Vision Soon, But Full Recovery Takes Time

One of the great benefits of cataract surgery is being able to enjoy clearer vision again, often quite quickly. Most patients see the world and surroundings with improved clarity within a day or two after the procedure. 

However, it is important to understand that while vision steadily recovers in the short term, full visual rehabilitation takes place over several weeks. Immediately after cataract surgery, your eye may feel sore, and vision might seem cloudy or compromised as healing begins. 

Discomfort and limitations should decrease daily in the week following the operation. If you don’t notice vision improvement right away, do not worry.

6. Follow Post-Op Recovery Instructions

Once home after your cataract surgery, it’s important to follow all instructions provided to you by your eye doctor. These instructions will aid healing and lower the risks of complications. 

Usually, a short prescription eye drop regimen, such as steroid drops and antibiotics, is used to prevent infection and calm inflammation. Your eye doctor may suggest wearing an eye shield while sleeping to protect the operative eye as you recover. 

Avoiding strenuous activities for two weeks post-surgery allows the incision site, stitches, or implanted lens to stabilize. Follow any guidelines for adjusting vision, like avoiding heavy computer use temporarily and resting the eye if your vision gets tired.

It’s important to notify your eye doctor right away if you notice significant increased redness, pain, purulent discharge, or vision changes that could indicate issues. Use cool compresses for ten minutes at a time on closed eyes to gently soothe post-surgical soreness. 

Light activity can resume in days, but allow four weeks before continuing your full workout routine. Report any glare, double vision, or other anomalies during your recovery. 

Adhering to post-op recovery instructions minimizes risks of complications while safely optimizing your vision gains.

Do you want to learn more about recovery from cataract surgery? Schedule an appointment at Focal Point Vision in San Antonio, TX, today!