Cataract surgery recovery is successful most of the time, with less than 10% of all cases developing complications.
If you will be undergoing cataract surgery, make sure you understand the nature of the operation and the guidelines you can follow to aid your recovery:
In a cataract surgery, the lens of your eye, which should be transparent but the cataract has made cloudy, is removed by an ophthalmologist. It is then replaced with a synthetic transparent lens, restoring clarity of vision. The surgery is most often done in a surgical center in a hospital, and is completed with only a local anesthesia and a small incision. Patients report very little or no discomfort at all.
After the surgery, you must get enough rest. Expect that your eye will feel gritty for the next day or so. Your vision might also be blurred for a week or more. Avoid bending over or lifting anything heavy for the first few weeks.
As part of your cataract surgery recovery, avoid touching your eyes or rubbing them. You must take the utmost care for your eye not to be infected. The eye is always vulnerable, but never more so than right after the operation. Your doctor will probably give you an eye patch, particularly for sleeping, to prevent you from touching your eye or rubbing it from sheer force of habit.
Your doctor will prescribe different kinds of eye drops for your use after the surgery. These will include antibiotics to prevent infection and anti-inflammatory drops to ease pain. It is better if you can have these prescriptions filled before the operation, so that you don’t have to worry about it or stand in line at the pharmacy while you can hardly see. Better yet, get someone to have your prescription filled for you.
Your doctor will ask you to come back for a post-operative follow up. Do not miss this appointment. It is extremely important that your doctor is able to monitor whatever inflammation exists after the surgery, and the subsequent improvement in your vision.
Take note that some patients do develop complications. These include the following:
- Swelling of the macula, which can be treated successfully most of the time
- Posterior vitreous detachment or detachment of the retina from the glassy fluid that fills the eye behind the lens. This may be accompanied by light flashes and floaters.
- Retinal detachment, which is rare and may happen a long time after the operation, from several weeks to several years
- Glaucoma may occur, particularly when there is inflammation
- Posterior capsular opafication, which means the new lens that has just been implanted becomes hazy. This is usually simply addressed by a laser procedure.
- Swelling of the cornea
- Floaters, which are very common
Proper cataract surgery recovery is essential to the ultimate success measurement of the operation, which is to restore your vision. Make sure you are properly guided by these guidelines and report any irregularities to your ophthalmologist at once. This will ensure that any complications can be prevented, or addressed right away.
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