Tell me more about Cataract Surgery
It is an outpatient surgery, meaning you get to go home the same day after your surgery. It is an elective surgery. it is not done under general anesthesia, instead it is performed under intravenous sedation and usually topical anesthesia. Therefore you do not have the risks from general anesthesia. Using the most up-to-date methods and instrumentation, cataract surgery is typically performed using a small-incision phacoemulsification technique. This means that the cataract surgery is accomplished using a very small incision, and removal of the lens material is accomplished using an ultrasonic needle.
There is a common misconception that cataract surgery is done using a laser. This is not the case, and has never been the case to remove all types of cataracts. The use of laser energy produces too much heat to be adapted for this purpose, and can cause irreversible damage to the delicate tissues inside the eye.
Following proper dilation of the pupil and preparation of the surgical area using betadine or other cleansers, a topical anesthetic is administered to the surface of the eye. An incision of 2.2 to 3 millimeters in length is then created at the junction of the cornea (the clear domed structure on the front of the eye) and the sclera (the white part of the eye).
Another dose of anesthetic is then administered inside the eye through this incision. The front part of the lens envelope, known as the lens capsule, is carefully opened so that the lens material can be removed. This is accomplished using a needle-like ultrasonic device, which pulverizes the hardened and yellowed lens proteins. The pulverized material is simultaneously vacuumed from the eye.
Once all of the cataract material has been removed, and assuming that the lens capsule which was opened at the beginning of the surgery remains strong enough to support the lens implant, a folded intraocular lens specifically chosen by the surgeon to suit your individual needs is then inserted through the original incision and maneuvered into the lens capsule and then centered. The lens will remain inside your eye in this location without moving. Intraocular lenses cannot be felt or sensed in any way by the patient. Unlike a contact lens which is on the outside surface of the eye, a lens implant remains inside the eye.
In most cases, once the lens is centered within the lens capsule, the instruments are removed, and the surgery is then complete. Under most normal circumstances stitches (or sutures) are not required to keep the incision sealed. Should the incision require a suture to be placed for proper sealing, this suture is generally removed within the first week following surgery. Dr. John routinely does no-stitch, no-patch cataract surgery, and only very rarely does he use patch or sutures.
Recovery from surgery is generally very quick, with most patients achieving noticeably better vision within the first 24 hours of the procedure. Patients are generally asked to use three different eye medications, administered as drops 2 to 4 times daily starting 3 days before the surgery and then following surgery they are continued for the first few weeks. It is important that during the first 7 post-operative days patients refrain from strenuous activity such as lifting weights more than 10 pounds, or exercise strenuously. Patients should also refrain from eye rubbing during the first few weeks following surgery.
If glasses are required following surgery to achieve the best possible vision either for close up work such as reading, or for distance purposes, these will be prescribed three to four weeks after surgery when full recovery is expected. If both eyes are scheduled to have surgery within a few weeks of each other, then glasses, if needed, will be prescribed following full recovery of the second eye.