Cataract surgery is a procedure that proceeds by removing a lens of the eye to have it replaced by intraocular lens. The operation aims to help the patient regain their clear vision which became cloudy because of the cataract. Many factors can cause cataracts such as genetic disorders, eye problems, and diabetes. How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery? The recovery varies from the patients, some people can see well just a few days after the surgery, others take a longer time. Overall, it takes three months for the eyes to fully heal and recover.
Who Needs Cataract Surgery
If you are experiencing blurry vision and trouble seeing clearly, your doctor might recommend cataract surgery. The operation is performed to remove cataracts and attain clear vision again.
Cataracts usually develop with age as the tissue in the eye changes which eventually affects vision. Injuries could also be one factor. For some people, inherited genetic disorders are the root cause of cataracts. Other reasons could also include eye problems, past operation, and medical conditions.
You might have a cataract if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Blurred and cloudy vision
- Difficulty seeing especially during the night or in dark places
- Glare and light sensitivity
- Need for a brighter light to see clearly
- Seeing halos
- Constant changes in eyeglasses and contact lens prescription
- Colors are fading
- Double vision
During the earlier occurrence of cataract, the signs and symptoms might be visible yet. But as it grows, you will notice your vision becoming more cloudy and distorted, at this point other symptoms will become more noticeable and a surgery might be needed.
Preparing For A Cataract Surgery
There are some things that you need to consider prior to your cataract surgical operation. This is to ensure that the results will not be compromised.
Before the scheduled procedure, your doctor will ask for an ultrasound to know the measurements of your eyes. The ultrasound will help the doctor determine which kind of procedure best suits you.
Cataract surgery is a minor operation so there is nothing much to do in preparation. However, it would be better to bring someone to drive you home after the operation. Your eye doctor might also ask you to avoid eating any solid food 6 hours before the surgery. You must not drink any kind of alcoholic beverages a day prior to the operation.
Cataract Surgery Procedure
The exact procedure will depend on the type of operation that you will receive. However, these are the common things that you can expect during a cataract surgery:
- You will receive local anesthesia that will numb your eyes. This can be from an injection or eye drops. You may not be able to see what your surgeon is doing but you will be awake during the treatment. Some patients are given sedatives to help them feel more comfortable.
- Your cataract will be broken down with the use of an ultrasonic probe. Once it’s done, a piece of suction equipment will be used to remove the broken pieces of cataracts.
- The intraocular lens will then be inserted into the eye to replace the old lens. In most cases, this does not require stitches.
- You will be asked to rest for half an hour before your dismissal from the clinic or hospital.
After the surgery, your doctor will give you precautionary aftercare instructions to guarantee your speedy recovery.
Some patients recover in few days while others need at least a week or two to see clearly. Don’t be surprised if your vision is still a bit cloudy after the surgery. The recovery period differs from one person to another. You just need to give your eyes some time to fully adjust to the newly inserted intraocular lens in your eye.
While you are still recovering, you might experience the following from time to time:
- Wavy or distorted vision
- Eye redness- this is due to the temporary damage to the blood vessels in the eye
- A black eye as a result of the injected anesthesia
- Dry eyes
You will also be asked to return to the clinic a day after the surgery. This is done in order for the doctor to determine if the cataract surgery went well and no complications are about to rise.
You should see significant changes in your vision a few days after the surgery. However, if your vision remains the same and pain occurs, visit your doctor right away.
Tips For A Quick Recovery
The first 2 weeks after the surgery is crucial so be sure to follow safety precautions. It’s the stage where your eye is in the process of healing and recovery. To ensure a safe and quick recovery, you may opt to consider these tips:
- Do not rub your eyes. No matter how itchy it feels, avoid rubbing your eye as it may cause irritation.
- Avoid eye irritants. Dust, dirt, and pollen can significantly affect the recovery period of your eye so be sure to avoid areas that are high in irritants.
- Avoid swimming for a month. Your eye doctor will be very specific with this one because pool chlorine can cause harm to the eye. You will recover faster if you keep your eye away from pools and hot tubs.
- Do not perform intense activities. Activities like working out and lifting heavy objects should also be avoided 7 days after the surgery.
- Wear eye protection. Wear sunglasses that can protect your eye from the harmful effects of the sun.
- Do not bend. Bending over with your head close to the knees will put pressure on the eye and eventually interfere with the recovery process.
- Use eye drops. You will be asked to use eye drops after the surgery. Be sure to use them appropriately for you to recover quickly.