A cataract is a clouding or opacity in the lens of the eye. The lens is located behind the iris. The lens functions to focus light rays onto the retina. When it is cloudy or has opacities in it, it can cause a blurring of vision, a loss of contrast sensitivity, double vision or shadows in one eye, and increased problems with glare from lights and headlights.
During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed from the clear membrane sac that surrounds it. The lens is broken up into tiny pieces by sound waves and removed, and a clear lens is placed back within the membrane sac to give you clear vision.
The surgical incision is 2.5mm in size, and in many cases, no sutures are needed. Advanced technology intraocular lenses are available. If you are a good candidate, these new lenses can decrease your dependence on glasses following cataract surgery.
Prescription eye drops are generally used one day before and for a few weeks after surgery. The drops are an important part of the healing process and are used to decrease the risk of infection and quiet the normal inflammation that occurs following surgery.
We are pleased to offer a more convenient option that may be less expensive than traditional prescription drops for some patients. LessDrops combines the three types of drops commonly used for cataract surgery (an antibiotic, a steroid, and an anti-inflammatory medicine) into one bottle. Rather than using three separate bottles, and needing to wait five minutes between instilling each type of eye drop in your eye, you get all three drops in one bottle.
What are the activity restrictions after surgery? Can I take a shower? It is okay to read, watch TV or use a computer after surgery. Using your eyes is not harmful, although you may need reading glasses to focus.
Following surgery, it is important to protect the eye and avoid rubbing or pushing on the eye. We will ask you to wear a clear plastic eye shield while you are sleeping for the first week. During the day, you can protect the eye with your glasses, a pair of sunglasses, or a plastic shield (whichever is most comfortable for you). It is okay to shower or bathe following cataract surgery but avoid getting water directly in the eye or immersing in water. We recommend absolutely no swimming or hot tubbing for the first two weeks after surgery. For the first five to seven days after surgery, we recommend you take it easy on physical activity. Avoid heavy lifting, bending, and strenuous physical exercise. It is okay to read, watch TV, walk and perform light activities. Also, for the first week, avoid spending time in very dusty or dirty environments.
Wearing contact lenses can affect the measurements of the eyes we take to prepare for cataract surgery. If you wear soft contact lenses, you must leave them out of your eyes for three days prior to your preoperative eye measurements. Rigid gas-permeable contact lens wearers will need to leave the contacts out for weeks or even possibly months until the cornea returns to its natural shape so that the eye measurements used to select the power of the lens implant will be accurate.
You may also be wondering if you can resume wearing contact lenses after cataract surgery. The answer is, yes, but you may not need to. With cataract surgery, we are replacing the natural lens within the eye that has become cloudy. Click here to learn more about whether you can reduce your need for glasses or contacts after cataract surgery.