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Understanding Cataract Surgery: Restoring Vision and Quality of Life

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Written by- Gina Walters

A Cataract is an eye condition that can cause various vision problems.

Aging is the main cause of Cataracts, leading to blurred vision, trouble seeing in low light, photophobia, and more. 

Fortunately, Cataract surgery is a widely performed procedure that helps remove the cloudy lens and restores clear vision. 

Let us explore more about Cataract surgery, its types, process, side effects, and more.

What is Cataract surgery

Cataract surgery is a surgical procedure developed to remove the cloudy eye lens and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). 

It is an effective and common surgical procedure that helps treat Cataracts, with a success rate of 90 to 95%.

The patients typically experience an improvement in vision after the surgery.

Cataract surgery is commonly an outpatient procedure, meaning patients can go home on the same day.

The doctors may recommend Cataract surgery when the Cataracts start affecting daily activities and quality of life. 

The common Cataract symptoms include difficulty reading, trouble recognizing faces, glare, problems with night vision, and more.

Consult an eye expert if the above symptoms become persistent.

Want to know how much time it takes to get Cataract surgery in both eyes? Read: “How long between Cataract surgery on each eye”

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Types of Cataract surgery

cataract surgerySource: pixelshot
Cataract surgery

Cataract surgery is a surgical procedure that has evolved over the years and has various types to address specific patient needs. 

The main types of Cataract surgery include Extracapsular Cataract Extraction, Phacoemulsification, and Intracapsular Cataract Extraction.

Phacoemulsification is a popular Cataract surgery that allows quick recovery and little to no stitches.

However, Extracapsular Surgery and Intracapsular Surgery are less common due to an increased risk of side effects.

The doctors may also recommend laser treatment options like Femtosecond Laser and Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery (LACS).

The advanced laser technology enhances the surgeon’s control over the procedure and reduces the risk of complications.

Each type of Cataract surgery has its own advantages and considerations. 

Therefore, patients should discuss their options with their eye doctor for the most suitable treatment.

Discover the different types of Cataract surgery in detail. Read: “Types of Cataract surgery”

Process of Cataract surgery

Cataract surgery is a specific and beneficial procedure that aims to restore clear vision for individuals affected by Cataracts.

The surgery commonly follows a well-defined process.

However, the exact procedure used by the surgeon may depend on the surgical technique they’re using.

The common process of Cataract surgery includes:

Medical evaluation: The doctor may conduct a complete eye examination before the surgery to check the severity of the Cataracts and determine one’s eye health.

Anesthesia: The doctor may use local anesthesia during Cataract surgery to numb the eye. The patient will remain awake during the surgery but cannot see the procedure performed by the doctor. 

Incision (Cut): The doctor then makes a small cut in the cornea or sclera to access the cloudy lens.

Lens removal: After making a cut, the doctors will remove the blurry lens. The doctors can use any surgical procedure according to the severity of the condition and the patient’s needs.

IOL implantation: After removing the natural lens, an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted to replace it. The artificial lens helps restore clear vision in Cataract patients. Also, the cut made in the eye is self-sealing and does not require stitches.

Recovery and postoperative care: Patients are observed in a recovery area after surgery. The doctor may also prescribe antibiotics, steroids, and anti-inflammatory eye drops to help prevent infection. 

Always follow the doctor’s instructions and attend all follow-up appointments to monitor healing and address any concerns. 

Cataract surgery is an effective treatment option, but can Cataracts come back after the surgery? Read: Understanding the Possibility: Can Cataracts Come Back After Surgery?

Cataract surgery side effects

infected eyeSource: Africa_images
Eye infection

Cataract surgery is usually safe and successful, but it can have side effects like any other surgery.

The side effects after Cataract surgery include:

  • Eye infection
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Secondary Cataract
  • Retinal detachment
  • Bleeding
  • Swollen eye
  • Vision problems
  • Shift in the position of the artificial lens 
  • Glaucoma

One can also experience dry eyes after Cataract surgery.

However, the above side effects are normally temporary and may resolve during the postoperative recovery. 

Patients should follow the doctor’s advice for a smooth and effective recovery.

Want to learn more about the side effects of Cataract surgery? Read: A Complete Guide on Cataract Surgery Side Effects

An individual’s risk of side effects from the surgery may increase if they have another underlying medical condition. Consult an eye expert for a complete eye test.

Double vision after Cataract surgery

Double vision after Cataract surgery is an uncommon symptom for many patients.

A study states that the main cause of double vision after Cataract surgery is eye misalignment (Strabismus) and extraocular muscle restriction.

Cataract surgery can affect eye movement muscles and lead to Strabismus or restrict the extraocular muscles.

Another study states that individuals can also experience double vision due to refractive errors.

The artificial lens takes time to adjust to normal vision, and the mismatch can result in double vision as the eyes may not focus together.

However, the treatment options for the condition include using prescription glasses, adjusting the artificial lens, and eye exercises. 

Eyeglasses and contact lenses are the easiest way to correct refractive errors and provide vision clarity.

Consult an eye expert if you experience double vision after Cataract surgery.

Curious about how Cataract surgery can lead to double vision? Read: Double Vision After Cataract Surgery: Causes and Treatment Options

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Types of lenses for Cataract surgery

types of lenses for cataract surgerySource: pixelshot
Close up of Young Man Putting Contact Lens

The eye lens is an important part of the eye that helps see clearly by bending the light rays entering the eyes.

However, Cataracts can make the eye lens cloudy and lead to vision problems.

The doctors use an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) during Cataract surgery to replace the eye’s cloudy natural lens.

The different types of lenses available for Cataract surgery include multifocal IOLs, monofocal IOLs, accommodating IOLs, and toric IOLs.

Like prescription glasses or contacts, IOLs are available in various focusing powers.

The eye doctor decides the power of IOL for an individual by measuring their eye length and cornea curve. 

The IOLs are covered with a special material to protect the eyes from UV rays and are made of acrylic, silicone, or other types of plastic.

Consult a doctor to choose the best artificial lens according to one’s condition. 

Want to explore all types of lenses for Cataract surgery in detail? Read: “Types of lenses for Cataract surgery”

What to expect after Cataract surgery

After the Cataract surgery, the doctor will keep an eye on the patient for a while, and then the patient can go home.

It is normal for the patient to experience blurry vision after the surgery.

The patients may notice improved vision in a few days, but it can take almost 4-6 weeks to recover fully. 

The doctor may also prescribe eye drops to help prevent infections and irritation. 

Individuals should wear an eye shield or patch at night for about one week after Cataract surgery. 

The patients should also sleep on their back, as it is the best sleeping position after Cataract surgery for effective recovery. 

Also, one should wear sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from the UV rays.

Consult an eye expert for full aftercare instructions and follow them strictly.

Want to discover more about the postoperative period after Cataract surgery? Read: “After Cataract surgery”

Patients cannot drive immediately after Cataract surgery. Therefore, ask a friend or family member to drive you home after the surgery.

Key takeaways

A Cataract is an eye condition mainly caused by aging that can cause various vision problems.

Fortunately, Cataract surgery is a safe procedure to help treat Cataracts and restore clear vision. 

The different types of Cataract surgery include Phacoemulsification, Extracapsular Surgery, Intracapsular Cataract surgery, and more.

The doctors may recommend Cataract surgery when the condition starts affecting one’s daily activities. 

However, people may also experience common Cataract surgery side effects like red eyes, cloudy vision, watery eyes, and more.

Consult an eye expert to discuss your medical history and get a proper treatment option.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the safest Cataract surgery?

Phacoemulsification is considered the most common and safe Cataract surgery. The procedure uses ultrasound to break and remove the cloudy lens. 
Phacoemulsification involves smaller cuts that help minimize the risks. Therefore, many doctors and patients choose Phacoemulsification to help treat Cataracts.

Is Cataract surgery painful?

No, Cataract surgery is not painful. The procedure involves using local anesthesia to numb the eye. Therefore, the patient may only feel light pressure.
However, patients may experience mild discomfort or irritation after the surgery, but it’s usually manageable with prescribed medications.

What is the average age for Cataract surgery?

The average age for Cataract surgery is about 67.7 years old. However, the decision to have surgery depends on the severity of the Cataract and individual preference.

Can a doctor recommend Cataract surgery for other medical conditions?

Yes, the doctor may also suggest Cataract surgery for other medical conditions like Diabetic Retinopathy or age-related Macular Degeneration. Cataract surgery helps to look into the back of the patient and helps treat the above conditions. 

How to prevent Cataracts?

One can help prevent Cataracts by protecting the eyes from UV rays, eating a balanced diet, wearing eye protection, and more.

How long does Cataract surgery take?

Cataract surgery normally takes 10-15 minutes but may take a few hours, including the preparation and recovery. Consult your doctor to know the exact duration of your surgery.

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